May 2, 2004 -- CropChoice news -- April 2004 Environmental Law and
Policy Center's ENews: On Friday, March 26,
ELPC joined Spanish wind developer, Gamesa Energia,
in welcoming wind power to Illinois. Gamesa's Mendota
Hills Wind Farm was dedicated Friday in Paw, Paw Illinois.
This is the first wind farm to be built and operating
in Illinois, and environmentalists, farmers, and wind
developers hope it is just the beginning for wind in
Illinois. The wind farm is made up of 63 Gamesa Energia
wind turbines with a total capacity of 50.4 megawatts,
which can power 15,000 homes a year. It is owned by
Gamesa, a wind turbine manufacturer and developer that
has developed many projects around the world, but none
before in the United States.
The event featured remarks by Alfonso Basagoiti, President
of Gamesa; Randy Swisher, Executive Director of the
American Wind Energy Association; Jack Lavin, Director
of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic
Opportunity and Howard Learner, ELPC Executive Director.
Mr. Learner emphasized the need for a state renewable
energy portfolio standard that would enable more projects
like the Mendota Hills wind farm to find a place in
Illinois. He explained how renewable energy projects
like wind farms are a win-win-win for Illinois because
they add jobs, extra revenue for landowners, and clean
energy for the environment. The wind farm at Mendota
Hills will provide 39 farmers with annual payments of
$3,000 to $5,000 for each wind turbine on their property.