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Illinois Country Living


Co-op member agrees to fly storm damage recon mission

This year, and in several previous years, Illinois was hit hard by ice storms. The devastation to utility lines and poles can be spread out over thousands of miles of rural lines. It’s the Midwest’s version of hurricane damage.

After the last ice storm, Norris Electric Cooperative’s staff met to brainstorm on things to do differently the next time they were hit by a similar storm. One of the ideas was to enlist the aid of a helicopter to survey the damage quickly. “A helicopter would allow us to see the magnitude of the damage very quickly,” says Manager Keith McKinney. “In the last ice storm we had as many crews as we could safely manage and worked as efficiently as possible. Having a survey of damage done by a helicopter would help to ensure that we started the crews at the most advantageous places.”

Norris Electric started to look around locally and found a great resource in Monty Bartels near Effingham. Monty owns and operates MBI Concrete Construction Company, but also is a helicopter pilot with a helicopter. “Monty has agreed to help us in the future in surveying storm damage and we owe him a big cooperative thank you,” says McKinney.

Students introduced to Illinois leaders

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon greets students representing co-ops from across the state before addressing them outside her office in the Capitol building. More than 300 youth and chaperones from 26 Illinois electric and telephone cooperatives had the opportunity to view state government in action during the annual Youth Day held April 6, in Springfield. Students were able to speak with their elected senators and representatives and heard from Secretary of State Jesse White. They also toured the Illinois Supreme Court, the Old State Capitol and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

The day was sponsored by the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives and is designed to introduce young rural leaders to state government. During the day judges selected individual students to represent the 26 co-ops on a Youth Tour of Washington, D.C., scheduled for June 10-17. The students will join other young delegates from cooperatives across the United States. They will learn about cooperatives, our nation’s history, our democratic form of government and meet with members of Illinois’ congressional delegation. For more information go to and click on the Youth Programs and Scholarships button.

Free training seminars available for Illinois builders

Provided through grants from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, the International Code Council (ICC) is providing free training at seminars across the state on the International Energy Conservation Code Fundamentals, Plan Review and Inspection. Seminar registration is complimentary and all participants will receive an applicable workbook along with the 2009 IECC Commentary. Training is scheduled throughout the state and ends May 31, 2011.

Effective on January 29, 2010, the Energy Efficient Building Act requires all new commercial and residential construction, for which a building permit application is received by a municipality or county, to follow a comprehensive statewide energy conservation code. Renovations, alterations, additions and repairs to most existing commercial and residential buildings must follow the Illinois Energy Conservation Code. The Law requires design and construction professionals to follow the latest published edition of the International Energy Conservation Code, which is currently the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.

For a complete list, registration information and qualifications for the complimentary scheduled seminars please visit and look under TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES, or call ICC at 888-422-7233 ext. 33818, or e-mail

Nuclear expansion could be delayed after Japan disaster

Despite gaining momentum as one of the possible solutions to address concerns about CO2 emissions, nuclear power expansion is sure to be delayed in the wake of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami-caused nuclear disaster. Legislation to lift the 24-year-old ban on new nuclear plant construction in Illinois has been put on hold.

Although the Nuclear Energy Institute says that the industry has invested about $6.5 billion in recent years to upgrade the 104 nuclear plants now operating in the United States, reviews of standards and new safety procedures are likely.

There are six operating nuclear power plants in Illinois and the state leads the nation in nuclear capacity. In fact, Illinois exports 20 percent of its power production. Exelon owns the majority of the nuclear power plants in Illinois.

Exelon Chairman and CEO John Rowe said, “The events at the Fukushima power plants are a source of grave concern. At Exelon, we are following the tireless efforts of the employees of the Tokyo Electric Power Company as closely as we can; our hearts are with these dedicated people. Meanwhile, we continue to learn all we can about these events.

“Our plants are safe, particularly given the different seismic patterns in our regions and the absence of tsunami-type events where we have operations. Still we watch, we learn, and we will work with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other policymakers, as well as industry colleagues, on what, if anything, should be done to apply what can be learned from this unprecedented situation,” said Rowe.

All of Exelon’s nuclear facilities are designed to American seismic and flood standards, reflecting their local geography. Exelon’s nuclear plants are equipped with numerous and redundant safety systems designed to protect them against earthquakes, flooding and other natural disasters.

FutureGen Alliance selects Morgan County site for carbon storage facility

FutureGen Alliance has selected Morgan County, Ill., as the preferred location for the FutureGen 2.0 carbon dioxide (CO2) storage site, visitor center, research and training facilities.

Among the factors that resulted in the selection of the Morgan County site are its high quality geology, which is well-suited for safe and secure long-term storage of CO2, and its close proximity to the Meredosia power plant, which simplifies pipeline routing and substantially reduces the project’s overall cost.

The CO2 storage facility will receive and store emissions from an Ameren Energy Resources power plant in Meredosia, Ill., that will be repowered with advanced oxy-combustion technology provided by the Babcock & Wilcox Company and Air Liquide Process and Construction, Inc. The FutureGen 2.0 technologies have the potential to repower the world’s fleet of coal-fueled power plants in a manner that largely eliminates their emissions, spurs job creation and substantially advances clean energy technology around the globe.

With a total investment of more than $1.3 billion dollars, it will substantially advance clean energy technology.

The current project schedule has construction beginning on both the Meredosia power plant and the CO2 pipeline and storage facility during the second half of 2012.

Source: Illinois Energy Forum

Co-ops seek change on generator rule

Electric co-ops are continuing to press the Environmental Protection Agency to revise its proposed rules on small emergency generators, so they can be used to offset power loads at times of peak demand.

In a meeting with EPA officials and subsequent comments filed with the agency, co-ops expressed concern that the rules would have an adverse impact on power supply and system operations.

The agency has issued rules to limit hazardous air pollutants from the engines by restricting their use during the 100 hours that the agency would allow for non-emergency operation. The National Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives has submitted a petition asking the agency to reconsider the rules.

In Illinois, Shelby Electric Cooperative has installed backup generators for members who pay the upfront cost. The propane-fueled generators can be turned on remotely by the co-op during peak demand periods and in return members get a favorable interruptible rate year round. They also have the security of a backup generator. Other co-ops, like Withlacoochee Electric Cooperative in Florida, have placed full backup power emergency generators at hospitals in their service areas, as well as generators at hurricane shelters and well fields that supply fresh water.

The co-op’s peak-shaving program helps cover the cost of the generators, but the new EPA limitations might force Withlacoochee to discontinue the service, leading to millions of dollars in new costs for consumers.

© 2016 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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