The Cardinal Point wind energy project in northern McDonough County has been delayed by a number of factors. Element Power remains confident it is a “top-tier” project in Illinois.
Project Manager Scott Kozniar says the potential expiration of a federal tax credit for renewable energy is hampering big projects.
He says, “Essentially, that allows us to reduce the power price that we sell it into the utilities. So if that goes away, you'd see a, basically $20 increase in the cost of a megawatt-hour for the renewable power.”
The Production Tax Credit will expire at the end of the year unless Congress takes action. Kozniar says that is unlikely until after the November election.
He also says “historically” low natural gas prices have made renewable energy sources less attractive in the short-term. He says, inevitably, prices for fossil fuels will increase. He believes wind energy is well-positioned to take advantage once that occurs. Prices for wind energy are likely to be fairly stable.
Element Power has continued to make incremental advances on the project. It has permits from the county to build sites for 116 wind turbines. It has also come to agreement with the Macomb Airport that will allow placing 30 of those turbines northwest of the airport. It decommissioned a runway zone. The company has completed a number of federally-mandated studies on the impact of the site on wildlife.
The company originally planned to break ground in the spring of 2011. It now looks to the spring of 2014 to begin construction.