WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Plans Still in Place for Western Illinois Wind Farm

Jan 4, 2018

Canada-based Capital Power believes it can start operating the Cardinal Point Wind Farm in the next couple years.  Two-thirds of the farm will be located in McDonough County, with the rest in Warren County.

“(The site) is at the crest of a hill but it is flat and that flatness helps ensure steady, consistent winds, which have been measured here for the last nine years and this is one of the more robust sites in Illinois,” said Matt Martin, Senior Manager in Project Development with Capital Power.

Plans for the farm were announced in 2009 and the project has gone through a couple ownership changes since then. Martin is confident the project is finally ready to move forward.

“What we’ve told our landowners – who re-signed leases in 2016 – is that Capital Power is an experienced developer, we have 24 different operating facilities around North America, we’ve built wind farms before both in Canada and the U.S., and so we’re capable of getting it done, and to stick with us through 2019, which is when we hope to go to construction,” said Martin.

He said the company’s goal for this year is to complete the local application and permit process.

Martin said the farm will cover approximately 19,000 acres and involve more than 100 landowners. The farm will have 45 to 75 towers, all of which will be less than 500 feet tall.  The farm will employ around 10 full-time workers.

“Wind technician is, I believe, the fastest growing job opportunity in America. And it is something that you’re seeing more and more of in technical colleges and is definitely something that can be filled by local applicants,” Martin said.

He said the company estimates the project will cost “north of $230 million.” He said the publicly traded company will invest its own money in the project and make back its investment by selling the electricity, and by monetizing tax credits and selling them to third parties. 

The company said the project will generate $2 million per year in tax revenue for local governments, and it should produce enough power for around 120,000 homes.