The State of Illinois has awarded a US$2.75 million Renewable Energy grant to Navitas Energy Inc., to develop a “utility scale” wind-to-energy farm in Northern Illinois.Springfield, Illinois – July 19, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The grant, from the Renewable Energy Resources Trust Fund, is part of a US$56 million project to bring wind-generated electricity to Illinois. Revenues from the Trust Fund support grants to promote Renewable Energy projects. “The Mendota Hills Wind Farm in rural Lee County is a giant first step in commercializing wind energy generation in Illinois,” said Illinois Governor George H. Ryan. “This project is a long-term investment to bring a clean and inexhaustible source of electricity to thousands of Illinois residents.” The grant, awarded through the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA), was announced to coincide with the Illinois Renewable Energy Conference in Rockford. The economic and environmental benefits of the wind-to-energy project are impressive. The wind farm is expected to add US$50 million to the local tax base and provide US$130,000 in annual lease payments to area landowners. The project is expected to produce up to 30 construction jobs in Lee County for a period of 6-9 months and up to six permanent skilled operations and maintenance jobs. “In order for Illinois to continue to successfully compete in the global economy, our businesses and residents need access to secure, reliable and affordable energy. By diversifying the sources of energy we can tap into here, we are ensuring our long-term economic prosperity,” added DCCA Director Pam McDonough. The Minneapolis-based company is expected to construct the first of nearly three dozen wind turbines by next year. When completed, the wind farm will generate 133 million kilowatts of emissions-free electricity, or the equivalent generation to meet the annual needs of about 15,000 households. Navitas Energy will sell its wind-generated power through Commonwealth Edison service territory to customers who wish to purchase wind-generated electricity under Illinois’ newly deregulated energy market. “We are pleased that the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs is part of the project,” said Greg Jaunich, CEO of Navitas Energy. “The state of Illinois’ support helps promote the generation of clean, wind-generated electricity in Illinois. We believe this will be the first of many projects Navitas will be building in the state.” Navitas recently announced a new partnership with Gamesa Energia, a large Spanish wind turbine supplier and developer. Gamesa is actively looking to site a manufacturing facility in the region, close to the installation of its wind turbines in the United States. This facility has the potential to generate an additional 200 local jobs.