Photo of wind turbines

Illinois is currently the seventh ranked state in the nation for wind generating capacity, but it could move into fourth place during 2011. That is the finding of a recent study published by the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University.

The study, prepared by David Loomis, economics professor and director of the Center for Renewable Energy, and graduate student Renardo Wilson, compares the generating capacity of Illinois to other leading wind industry states. Illinois is projected to have a total of 2,435.4 megawatts (MW) of installed generating capacity by the end of the third quarter of 2011. Projected figures show Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota and Illinois will be the top five states, in order, for wind power generation by that time.

Photo of David Loomis“The difference in installed capacity between Illinois and Minnesota by the third quarter is only 58.6 MW,” said Loomis. “Should one or more of Minnesota’s upcoming wind farm developments be delayed due to a moratorium or a change in the development process, such as detrimental weather conditions or worker strikes, then that loss of capacity could possibly result in Illinois moving up to fourth in the list of largest electricity generators from renewable wind resources.”

While the same types of delays could occur here, Illinois has more projects currently in the construction phase than Minnesota, such as Big Sky Wind Farm, Top Crop Wind Farm Phase II and White Oak Energy Farm. Therefore, Loomis and Wilson conclude that Minnesota carries a greater risk, providing Illinois with the potential to move up in the ranking.

The report summary and other publications are available on the Center for Renewable Energy’s website.

Proper siting and permitting of wind farms is critical to the continued high ranking of Illinois over other states. The Illinois Wind Working Group (IWWG), administered by the Center for Renewable Energy and affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America state wind working groups, will host the Siting, Zoning, and Taxing of Wind Farms in Illinois Conference on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Normal. The conference will feature presentations on wind farm topics for an audience consisting of county board members, zoning board officials, government employees and developers.

Online registration details and the full conference agenda are available online,or by emailing or phoning the Center for Renewable Energy at 438-7919.