The Center for Renewable Energy recently released an analysis that compares wind farm generating capacity of Illinois to other states leading in the wind power industry. In the report prepared by Dr. David Loomis, Director of the Center for Renewable Energy, and Renardo Wilson, an Illinois State University graduate student, Illinois is projected to have a total of 2,435.4 MW in installed capacity by the end of third quarter of 2011. The projected figures show Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota, and Illinois will be the top five states, in order, for wind power generation by that time.
The difference in installed capacity between Illinois and Minnesota by the third quarter is only 58.6 MW. Should one or more of Minnesota’s upcoming wind farm developments be delayed due to a moratorium or a change in the development process, such as detrimental weather conditions or worker strikes, then that loss of capacity could result in Illinois possibly moving up to fourth in the list of largest electricity generators of renewable wind resources.
While the same types of delays could occur in Illinois, Illinois has more projects currently in the construction phase than Minnesota, such as Big Sky Wind Farm, Top Crop Wind Farm Phase II and White Oak Energy Farm. Therefore, Loomis and Wilson conclude that Minnesota carries a greater risk, providing Illinois with the potential to move up in the ranking.
The report summary by Loomis and Wilson and other publications are available on the Center for Renewable Energy’s website, RenewableEnergy.illinoisstate.edu/wind/publications.
Proper siting and permitting of wind farms is critical to the continued high ranking of Illinois over other states. To help educate and inform county officials, the Illinois Wind Working Group (IWWG), which is administered by Illinois State University’s Center for Renewable Energy, and is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America state wind working groups, will host their fourth Siting, Zoning, and Taxing of Wind Farms in Illinois Conference on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011, at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Normal.
The conference will feature speaker panels to discuss wind farms topics for an audience of primarily county board members, zoning board members, government employees, and developers. Topics will include best practices of county and zoning boards, county ordinance revisions, roads, school district taxation, property value guarantees, and decommissioning.
A Wind Energy 101 pre-session is also offered for those new to wind farm projects, providing a general overview and discussion on economic impacts, anticipated trends, wildlife issues, and sound and setback requirements. Online registration details and the full conference agenda are available at RenewableEnergy.ilstu.edu, or by contacting the Center for Renewable Energy at (309) 438-7919, email RenewableEnergy@ilstu.edu.
The Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University was approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education in August, 2008. The Center has three major functional areas: supporting the renewable energy major at Illinois State University; serving the Illinois renewable energy community by providing information to the public; and encouraging applied research on renewable energy at Illinois State University and through collaborations with other universities.