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Factsheet
FAQ

Illinois Generation LLC is a project-level company that owns the assets related to our wind generation efforts located in Ford and Kankakee Counties known as Heritage Prairie. “Heritage” pays homage to the area’s agricultural roots, and Prairie references Illinois, the Prairie State. Heritage Prairie is jointly owned by Pattern Development and ConnectGEN.

 

Pattern Development is a leader in developing renewable energy and transmission assets. With a long history in wind energy, Pattern Development’s highly-experienced team has developed, financed and placed into operation more than 4,500 MW of wind and solar power projects. A strong commitment to promoting environmental stewardship drives the company’s dedication in working closely with communities to create renewable energy projects. Pattern Development has offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, and New York in the US; Toronto, Canada; Mexico City, Mexico; Santiago, Chile; and Tokyo, Japan.

Pattern Energy Group Inc. is an independent power company listed on The NASDAQ Global Select Market and Toronto Stock Exchange. Pattern Energy has a portfolio of 20 operating wind power facilities, including two projects it has agreed to acquire, with a total owned interest of 2,736 MW in the United States, Canada and Chile that use proven, best-in-class technology. These facilities generate stable long-term cash flows in attractive markets that have strong growth potential. Each of the facilities has contracted to sell all, or a majority, of its energy output on a long-term, fixed-price power sale agreements.

 

ConnectGEN is a renewable energy company comprised of seasoned energy industry professionals focused on developing wind, solar, and energy projects across the United States. ConnectGEN draws from its team’s vast experience developing renewable energy and infrastructure projects across the United States. In total, the ConnectGEN team has managed the development, financing, construction, and operation of thousands of megawatts (MW) of wind and solar energy across 15 states.

Agents in the field representing Illinois Generation LLC are employed as direct contractors of Heritage Prairie and they have been assisting us with our mission to connect face-to-face with as many landowners as possible. Connecting with landowners and beginning the process of discussing land option and easement details is an important stage for us in learning about a community – these agents are allowing us to broaden our reach and expand this process given their significant experience in Illinois and the Midwest in general.

The team at Heritage Prairie is actively studying several possible, innovative solutions that would allow Heritage Prairie a clear path to market.

In 2007, the Illinois legislature enacted Public Act 95-644. The law established a uniform set of guidelines for the assessment of wind energy projects in the state. In Illinois, wind projects are assessed at $360,000 per megawatt (MW) of generating capacity. The law also included provisions for annual inflation and depreciation of the individual turbines. The exact amount of tax revenue collected from a particular wind turbine depends on the local property tax rate and the size of the turbine.

 

Heritage Prairie commissioned Dr. David Loomis of Strategic Economic Research, who is also an Economics professor at Illinois State University, to analyze the expected impacts from construction and operation. Assuming a 400 MW project is built, Heritage Prairie would generate over $5 million of property tax revenue in the first year of operation, and an average of approximately $3.5 million per year over the life of the project. Over 60% of this revenue goes to the school districts where the turbines are located. The balance is split amongst local budgets including Townships and the general Ford and Kankakee County budgets.

The cost of electricity from wind energy is predictable and stable because there are no fuel costs, unlike conventional forms of energy where the cost of fuel can fluctuate significantly over time. Once a wind farm project is built, the price of electricity from the project is set for the duration of its power purchase agreement.

 

Investing in wind energy also helps us offset our use of other precious resources. Studies have consistently shown that increased use of wind energy will actually result in lower prices to consumers for natural gas – and help conserve that resource for further generations in the process.

The proposed Heritage Prairie Wind Project represents a significant investment within Ford and Kankakee Counties. Throughout development and construction, local residents can expect to see the widespread direct and indirect job creation, economic investment, and tax revenue for Illinois. The following are a few of the expected benefits to the State of Illinois from the Heritage Prairie Project, as analyzed in the economic impact study completed by Dr. David Loomis mentioned above in the tax revenue section. We would gladly provide the complete study to anyone who is interested.

 

  • 1,017 new jobs during construction
  • 56 new long-term jobs
  • Over $68.2M in new earnings during construction
  • Over $3.3M in new long-term earnings annually
  • Over $36.3M in school district revenue over the life of the Project
  • Over $7.9M in township property taxes over the life of the Project

The wind turbines in Illinois are expected to generate energy between 80- 90% of the time on any average year, with the maximum production usually happening during the evening and morning and in winter months. Wind forecasting technology makes wind energy easier to predict and more reliable than ever before.

 

Electricity grids are already designed to handle variability in both demand and supply. Because of the natural variations in demand, the electric grid always has more power available than it needs in the form of spinning reserve. During a power plant outage – whether a conventional plant or a wind plant – backup is provided by the entire interconnected utility system.

 

No power plant operates 100% of the time. There are periods when power plants shut down for maintenance and repairs and times when resources run low or unexpected outages occur. At some conventional power plants, the entire plant may have to be shut down for repairs, whereas wind farm maintenance takes place one turbine at a time, without having to shut down the entire plant.

If there are current GPS coordinates of all drainage tiles, those would be used to assess the site before construction commences and tiles would be avoided to the greatest extent reasonable. Tiles cut or damaged during the construction process are repaired within a reasonable time frame. Drainage tiles that are affected near the turbine sites are re-routed around the foundation area.

Yes, Heritage Prairie will have plans and funding set aside for decommissioning the wind farm at the end of its useful life or, in the very unlikely scenario that the company goes out of business or is unable to continue operating the Project, the county zoning ordinance has requirements for decommissioning. Using Ford County as an example, the Zoning Ordinance requires that Heritage Prairie submit a plan, prior to building the Project, including elements addressing decommissioning triggering events, provisions for removal of turbines and infrastructure, provisions for land restoration and provisions for Heritage Prairie to provide financial assurance, accessible by the County, to carry out the decommissioning.

Heritage Prairie could potentially start construction as early as 2020 but has included a five-year period in the land options to give time to work through any issues that arise during the development process. Depending on factors such as seasonal conditions and final project size and design, construction is expected to last between 1-2 years.

The development period (prior to construction of the wind farm) includes many important, necessary steps including obtaining land easements, collecting meteorological data, performing environmental studies and working through the permitting processes, to name a few. This can typically take anywhere from two to five years and even longer in some cases.

All public roads that are expected to be utilized during construction are documented and analyzed to capture the existing condition of the roadways prior to commencing construction activities. All public roads impacted by the construction of the wind farm will be returned to the same or better condition at the conclusion of construction activities. This arrangement is documented and memorialized through a Public Road Use Agreement with the local road engineers at both the township and county levels. We understand there have been important issues brought up due to recent experience with other wind farms in Ford and Kankakee County and we are actively working with county officials to understand the relevant lessons from these experiences.

The health and safety of the public, landowners, and personnel at the Project is of utmost importance to Heritage Prairie. The Project will be monitored on-site and by a remote operations center in Houston, Texas which is staffed 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

 

Heritage Prairie works closely with local permitting and zoning officials as well as the first responder community and the Project will be compliant with all applicable state and local regulations as well as siting requirements established by county ordinances.

The soil that is excavated to install the turbine foundation structure will be used to backfill the foundation and redistributed around the turbine after construction. If there is excess material that is not needed for fill on roads or other places in the project area, the soil can typically be left for the landowner to do what he/she wants with it, if the landowner desires.

Yes. Any owner or owners would be required to continuously comply with the Special Use Permit issued by the county which includes provisions for removal of infrastructure and decommissioning of towers.

Not yet. Heritage Prairie is working diligently to identify an offtake partner or partners for the energy that would be generated.

Yes. The company has hired a local community liaison to be available to answer questions and address community concerns. Additionally, you can contact us at www.heritageprairiewind.com

For more than 40 years people have been living near more than 350,000 wind turbines operating globally and more than 50,000 wind turbines operating in North America. There is no scientific evidence indicating that wind turbines have caused any adverse health effects. Overall, health and medical agencies agree that the sound from wind turbines is not loud enough to cause hearing impairment and is not causally related to adverse effects. Scientific evidence to date does indicate that at common residential setback distances there is no direct health risk from wind turbine noise, including low frequency noise and infrasound.

 

Wind turbine sounds are not unique. Based on the levels and frequencies of the sounds, a multidisciplinary scientific advisory panel comprising of medical doctors, audiologists, and acoustical professionals concluded that there is no evidence the audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects.