Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative
Utility-Scale Wind Turbine
Section 9006 Grant: $438,000
Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative (IREC), with 10,000 electric customers in central Illinois, installed a 1.65 MW wind turbine that provides about 5% of the peak load for its members. IREC management was eager to build the turbine as a commitment to renewable energy and as a catalyst to encourage additional wind projects in Pike County. Since wind-generated power was more expensive than the co-op’s power supply contract and the co-op did not want to pass this increased cost on to its members, it had to find additional sources of funding to support the investment. IREC was able to tap into three separate sources of funding that together covered 50% of the project’s capital costs: in addition to a grant from the Section 9006 program, IREC received grants from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The remaining project cost was financed through the Rural Utilities Service.
IREC received the 2005 Wind Cooperative of the Year award by the U.S. Department of Energy. Douglas Faulkner, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said, “IREC has been honored for its innovation and commitment to wind power. They have demonstrated that wind power can contribute to a cleaner environment and a stronger local economy, and can act as a hedge against rising fuel costs.”