Prospects have turned brighter for a major carbon-sequestration project. The Dept. of Energy announced on June 12 it had reached a “provisional agreement” with an industry group for the FutureGen project in Mattoon, Ill. DOE will provide $1.07 billion, including $1 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The FutureGen Alliance, which includes utility and coal companies, will add $400 million to $600 million.

DOE will issue a record of decision for the project by mid-July. After that, a preliminary design and new cost estimate will be produced. A decision on whether to proceed will come in early 2010.

The action is a turnabout for DOE. In January 2008 then-Secretary Samuel Bodman said he would open the carbon-capture program to multiple plants.