WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Ethanol Plant Closer to Loan Arrangement

Canton, IL – Those trying to build an ethanol plant in Canton hope the spikes in oil and gas prices help them complete their financing. General Manager Mike Smith says Central Illinois Energy hopes to complete negotiations for a bank loan within 45 days. He says some people had questioned the construction of a coal-burning power station to provide heat and steam for ethanol production. But Smith says the extra cost of building the power station will be more than offset by lower energy costs. Smith says CIE has a 19-year contract for coal fines at a fixed cost. He says the payback period for the power station should be less than three years. Smith says delays in securing financing have delayed construction of the plant. He initially expected production to begin in the spring of 2004. Now he says it could begin late next year.