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$345 Million Wind Energy Project Coming To Central Illinois

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Enel Green Power North American
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An official with the company bringing a $345 million wind farm project to central Illinois says there will be significant economic and environmental impact to the plan.

Located just west of Clinton and Wapella, the Alta Farms Two wind farm will start providing power in late 2022. The wind farm, now under construction by Enel Green Power North American, will contain 50 wind turbines generating 200 megawatts of electricity.

“Alta Farms Two is going to be able to power approximately 57,000 average U.S. households every year. We are talking about 470,000 tons of CO2 annually avoided,” said Tom Swerczewski, the regional lead for development for Enel Green Power North America.

There also is an economic impact. Building Alta Farms Two will create several hundred construction jobs, and close to a dozen permanent jobs, said Enel Green. After the $345 million in construction work is completed, the cluster of turbines is projected to generate $40 million in property taxes for schools, infrastructure, and other local necessities.

Alta Farms Two will be more efficient than other wind farms in central Illinois, said the company. The new turbines will produce twice as much electricity as farms like Whitney Hill near Mt. Pulaski in Logan County, meaning only half as many will need to be constructed.

State policymakers are in the midst of a wide-ranging discussion about competing energy plans, including the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

“Enel is excited about the discussion. We have big plans for the state of Illinois. Renewable energy is an economic engine. It is a jobs creator for rural Illinois,” said Swerczewski.

He said the development of the wind energy industry in Illinois is only about half-finished and solar is at the beginning of implementation.

Concerning politics in Washington, D.C., the future is “very bright,” he added.

“Renewable energy is proven to make some solid gains regardless of whoever is in the White House. We think the Biden Administration is just going to help things even further,” said Swerczewski.

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Jack Graue is a student reporter at WGLT. He joined WGLT in summer 2021. He is also a student in the School of Communication at Illinois State University.
WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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