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Economic Impact: Wind Energy Development in Illinois

Posted by Content Coordinator on Thursday, July 19th, 2012


Executive Summary

A number of factors have contributed to the rapid growth of wind power capacity in Illinois from 50 MW in 2003 to 3,334.91 MW in 2012, including federal and state policies, energy security, energy costs, environmental benefits, and economic development opportunities. One key policy driver in Illinois was the passage of the Illinois Power Agency Act in 2007 which included a Renewable Portfolio Standard of 25% by 2025, of which 75% of the renewable energy resources must come from wind.

As of April, 2012, Illinois ranked 4th in the United States in overall installed wind capacity and ranked 14th in potential capacity. Illinois installed the second most new generation capacity amongst all states during 2011. Illinois led the nation in 2011 with 404 new turbines installed (AWEA, 2012a). Illinois currently has 42 wind projects online, which account for 3,360.28 MW of wind generating capacity. This report will analyze the economic impacts from only the projects that exceed 50 MW of capacity. Illinois has 23 projects larger than 50 MW, which account for 3,334.91 MW or 99% of the state’s wind energy generating capacity (see Table 1). Although project specific data were used in this report, proprietary information about the wind farms will not be released. It is important that stakeholders and decision makers are educated about the economic development impact wind energy has brought to the state and local communities so that informed decisions regarding future adoption of wind energy projects can be made. By analyzing the impacts of Illinois’ wind energy, this report supplies interested parties with information concerning the economic development benefits of wind energy.

According to this economic analysis (see Figure 1), the 23 largest wind farms in Illinois:

• Created approximately 19,047 full-time equivalent jobs during construction periods with a total payroll of over $1.1 billion
• Supports approximately 814 permanent jobs in rural Illinois areas with a total annual payroll of nearly $48 million
• Supports local economies by generating $28.5 million in annual property taxes
• Generates $13 million annually in extra income for Illinois landowners who lease their land to the wind farm developer
• Will generate a total economic benefit of $5.98 billion over the life of the projects


Read full report (PDF) here: Economic Impact: Wind Energy Development in Illinois

About The Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University
“The Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University has three major functional areas: To enhance the renewable energy major at Illinois State University, to serve the Illinois renewable energy community by providing information to the public, to encourage applied research concerning renewable energy at Illinois State University, and through collaborations with other universities.”


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