Illinois is fast becoming a major source of renewable wind energy, with several wind farms in production and in development. Horizon Wind Energy is developing the Bright Stalk Wind Farm in McLean and Livingston Counties, Illinois. WGFA Radio quotes Robin Park, project manager, as indicating that the Bright Stalk Wind Farm would produce enough wind energy to power between 90,000 and 120,000 homes.
In October, 2010, the News-Gazette reported that the McLean County Board had given its final approval for the Black Stalk Wind Farm, and that work could start before the end of the year. The project could have up to 223 wind turbines spread over 37,800 acres in Lexington, Lawndale, Chenoa, and Yates townships in eastern McLean County.
Horizon Wind also owns and operates the Twin Groves and Top Crop wind farms in Illinois. The 240-turbine Twin Groves Wind Farm is located outside of Bloomington in eastern McLean County, Illinois. The Twin Groves I and II wind farms have a combined installed capacity of nearly 400 MW, enough to power about 120,000 homes. The Top Crop Wind Farm, located in parts of Grundy, Livingston, and LaSalle Counties, generates enough wind energy to power about 31,000 homes.
As reported by Renewable Energy World in May, 2010, the Tennessee Valley Authority started transmitting wind power from the Streator Cayuga Ridge Wind Farm in Livingston County Illinois. This wind farm, located about five miles southeast of Odell, Illinois, was built by Iberdrola Renewables and has 150 turbines that will produce enough energy to power about 70,000 homes in the Tennessee Valley Authority service area.
According to Iberdrola, at the peak of construction, 450 contractors and workers from all over Illinois were working on the construction project, and the average number of workers was 180. Iberdrola indicated that the Streator Cayuga Ridge Wind Farm will contribute between $2.7 and $3.5 million in local taxes and will pay approximately $1.2 million a year in lease payments to local landowners. The landowners can also continue to farm the land on which the turbines are located.
The U.S. Department of Energy granted $170 million to the Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm through a program of grants in lieu of tax credits. As reported on the Energy Empowers website, one of the stipulations of the grant was that Iberdrola, the Spanish company that developed the $600 million project, pay the county $6 million to stimulate local economic development. The funds are handled by the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council, which has a program of revolving loans and grants. According to the report, the council has helped a dozen local businesses start up or stay in business. In addition to the construction jobs the wind farm generated, as indicated by Larry Vaupel, director of the council, for each ten wind turbines, one full-time maintenance job is created.
Horizon Wind Energy moving forward on another wind farm – WGFA Radio
McLean County Board OKs wind farm plan – The News-Gazette
Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Power Project – Iberdrola Renewables
Top Crop Wind Farm, Illinois – Horizon Wind
TVA Activates 300 MW of Wind Power – Renewable Energy World
Twin Groves I Wind Farm, Illinois – Horizon Wind
Twin Groves II Wind Farm, Illinois – Horizon Wind
VP100: Illinois wind farm breathes new life into businesses – Energy Empowers