State to get
its first wind power farm
GARY GISBY ENVIRONMENT REPORTER
Chicago Sun Times
announced plans Wednesday for the first commercial wind
farm in Illinois, allowing Chicago--the Windy City--the
chance to take a giant step toward the five-year goal
of pulling 20 percent of its power from environmentally
$65 million project will be built near Tiskilwa in Bureau
County, 110 miles west of Chicago.
20 acres in the middle of 2,200 acres of farmland, 34
wind turbines will take advantage of average wind speeds
in excess of 17 mph.
high-tech windmills will stand 380 feet high, including
giant three-blade rotors 235 feet across.
combined output of 51 megawatts will be enough to supply
electricity for 20,000 homes.
said the wind farm will be one of the largest east of
the Mississippi and is to be completed by the middle of
next year. The utility will be the new wind farm's only
electricity will be folded in with ComEd's other power
sources. "Every customer gets a piece of the wind
farm," said Larry Leonard, the utility's director
of energy acquisition.
that doesn't mean Chicago can count the power it buys
as contributing toward its 20 percent "green power"
goal. The city must negotiate separately with ComEd to
earmark part of the production for itself, Leonard said.
will be doing that, said Environment Commissioner Marcia
Jimenez. "We expect some kind of mix that will include
solar, landfill gas and hydropower as well," she
of the wind farm will be Illinois Wind Energy, formed
in September 2000 to develop such farms, and Tomen Power
Corp., billed as one of the world's largest wind power
Power is a subsidiary of Tomen Power Holdings, a Japanese
corporation that accounts for about 5 percent of the world's
total wind power generation capacity. Tomen built its
first wind power generation plant in California in 1987,
and today operates or is developing more than 20 wind
farms in Europe, the United States and Japan with a combined
output capacity of 1,400 megawatts.
the turbines is NEG Micon, whose U.S. operations are headquartered
in Rolling Meadows. It builds wind power plants ranging
from 1 to more than 100 megawatts. Since 1997, NEG Micon
North America has provided technology valued at more than
$500 million, representing 715 turbines producing 560
federal government gives a production tax credit to wind
power developers. But Leonard said that as technology
continues to improve, wind is becoming competitive with
coal, natural gas and other fuels.