Illinois’ First Commercial Wind Farm Planned

ComEd, Illinois Wind Energy (IWE) and Tomen Power Corporation (TPC) today announced plans for creating the first commercial wind farm in Illinois. The Crescent Ridge wind energy project will become one of the largest wind farms east of the Mississippi River and will generate enough Renewable Energy to power approximately 20,000 Illinois homes.

CHICAGO, Illinois – June 28, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] Under the agreement, ComEd will purchase the entire output of the 51 MW wind generating facility. “Wind power is a desirable alternate source of energy because it is renewable and environmentally friendly,” said Arlene Juracek, ComEd vice president of regulatory and strategic services. “ComEd is excited to help pave the way for turning the dream of wind power into reality for the people of Illinois.” The Crescent Ridge wind energy project will be located across 2,200 acres of farmland in Bureau County, Illinois, though the wind turbine facilities themselves will actually take up less than 20 acres of land. All the land can continue to be farmed, except what is needed for the wind facilities themselves. The project, which will be built near Tiskilwa, approximately 110 miles west of Chicago, is expected to be completed in mid 2003. IWE and TPC are co-owners and co-developers of the Crescent Ridge wind power project. TPC, which is financing the project, is a subsidiary of Tomen Power Holding Company, one of the world’s largest wind power developers. “This project puts Illinois Wind Energy at the forefront of commercial-scale wind development in Illinois,” said Stefan Noe, president of IWE. “The power purchase agreement with ComEd provides the economic assurance to make this project possible. ComEd has not only made a significant commitment to help bring the Crescent Ridge wind project to life, but also is making a significant commitment to the environment and Illinois’ future.” In addition to reaching the power purchase agreement, ComEd has already shown its commitment to renewable resources through its contribution of US$225 million in start-up capital for Illinois Clean Energy Community Trust, which is used to finance energy efficiency initiatives, Renewable Energy resources and other environmental programs. NEG Micon, whose U.S. operations are headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, has been selected as the preferred supplier of 34 new, 1.5 MW wind energy generating turbines. The turbines will stand 380 feet high from the base to the tip of the blade, and will have three-blade rotors that extend 235 feet in diameter. Crescent Ridge is considered one of the best sites for wind power in the state with average wind speeds in excess of 17 miles per hour at the center of the rotor. The wind farm will employ new wind turbine technology that allows for effective electricity generation at lower speeds than normally found at other wind farms across the nation. Recent studies by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory as well as the American Wind Energy Association have shown that parts of Illinois, particularly northwestern Illinois, are suitable for wind energy projects.

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