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The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan’s Impact on IllinoisGov. Quinn Helps Dedicate Co-op Wind TurbinNew Well in Illinois to Test CO2 StorageCo-op Members Ask for Affordable Climate Change LegislationWhy Not Bury All Electric Lines?Praire Power, Inc. Welcomes New President/CEOIllinois Electric Co-ops Provide Seven ScholarshipsEPA Says Greenhouse Gases Pose a Threat to Public Health and Welfare

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan’s Impact on Illinois

In February Gov. Quinn launched, a tool for every taxpayer interested in the $787 billion federal stimulus package. “This site allows us to quickly share state-focused information about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, collect project ideas from the public, and direct people to relevant state and/or federal agencies and applications,” he said.

The stimulus package is expected to create 157,700 jobs in Illinois over the next two years, provide tax cuts, modernize schools, invest in infrastructure and double renewable energy generating capacity over three years.

Gov. Quinn Helps Dedicate Co-op Wind Turbine

Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative’s GobNob wind turbine at Farmersville was praised by Governor Pat Quinn as a needed source of clean, American-made energy, at a dedication ceremony on April 20. Gov. Quinn introduced representatives of several organizations that helped make the project possible, from funding to the location of the turbine itself.

“This is the first wind turbine in Illinois on public land, and we need more of this,” he said of the former coal mine waste pile that’s now owned by the Department of Natural Resources. The land, once known as the Crown I coal mine, is now part of Sangchris Lake State Park.

DNR Director Marc Miller was one of the officials acknowledging the praise from the governor, along with Jonathan Feipel from the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) which provided a $225,000 grant for the project. USDA Rural Development added a grant for $375,000, and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation contributed $150,000.

The 900-Kilowatt turbine churned in the gusting wind as the Governor and other officials cut the ceremonial ribbon. The generator has already produced over 300,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, according to Rural Electric President/CEO David Stuva. The turbine is expected to produce about 2.5 million kilowatt-hours annually, he said.

“Our members have voiced great support for this renewable energy project,” said Stuva. “We want to do our part to promote the technology and show that wind power can work in this part of the state, even though it provides just a small part of our energy needs. Every bit is important, though, and the GobNob turbine will continue to benefit our members and the entire state for many years to come.”

After climbing to the top of the 220-foot wind turbine a week before the dedication, Rep. John Shimkus met with members of the co-op’s board of directors and several employees. He said, “We have to talk about the economic benefit of both coal mines as well as wind turbines. From the jobs, to the tax base, to the spin offs …it all will hopefully help rural America. I’m a diversified fuel guy. The more the merrier.


New Well in Illinois to Test CO2 Storage

The Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC), one of seven regional partnerships created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to advance carbon sequestration technologies nationwide, has begun drilling the injection well for its large-scale carbon dioxide (CO2) injection test in Decatur.

The large-scale project will capture CO2 from the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Ethanol Production Facility in Decatur, and inject it in a deep saline formation more than a mile underground.

Following injection, a comprehensive monitoring program will be implemented to ensure that the injected CO2 is safely and permanently stored. The position of the underground CO2 plume will be tracked, and deep subsurface, groundwater, and surface monitoring around the injection site will be conducted. The monitoring program will be evaluated yearly and modified as needed.


Co-op Members Ask for Affordable Climate Change Legislation

During the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) annual legislative rally May 3-5 in Washington, D.C., hundreds of electric co-op grassroots leaders visited with elected officials about the need for affordable, flexible and effective legislation to address the nation’s energy and climate change objectives.

According to a recent national poll commissioned NRECA, 80 percent of Americans agree Congress should know the costs to consumers before voting on climate change legislation. In short: Americans expect their elected representatives will know — and will tell them — how much their electric bills will increase in dealing with climate change.

“Family budgets are already strained by rising energy costs, and climate change legislation that does not take consumer costs into account will place significant burdens on households from coast to coast,” says NRECA CEO Glenn English. “We are seeking a common sense approach to climate change that minimizes costs and ensures that safe and reliable electric power remains affordable for everyone.”

Why Not Bury All Electric Lines?

It seems that after every major storm (ice and hurricanes in particular), we see interest in converting overhead electric systems to underground. The pros and cons (and cost) have been studied in many different states after major storm disasters. Here are a number of points that have been made in these studies:

  • Cost of putting distribution lines underground would be between $0.5 million and $5.4 million per mile. Average underground cost is about $1 million per mile. Average overhead construction is about $120,000.
  • Cost of putting transmission lines underground would be about $10 million per mile.
  • Virtually all jurisdictions conclude that conversion is prohibitively expensive.
  • The primary driver for underground lines is aesthetics, not reliability.
  • Repair time for underground lines is about 60 percent longer than for overhead.
  • Underground systems are still vulnerable to lightning.
  • Underground lines are more susceptible to rodents, corrosion, tree roots and accidental digging.
  • System longevity for overhead is 50 years but only 30 for underground.
  • Maintenance costs are about the same.

Praire Power, Inc. Welcomes New President/CEO

Prairie Power, Inc., (PPI) a generation and transmission cooperative located in Jacksonville announced in April that Jay C. Bartlett accepted the position of President and CEO of Prairie Power, Inc. effective June 1, 2009. Bartlett replaces Bob Harbour who retired at the end of May.

Bartlett has been with Springfield-based City, Water, Light & Power (CWLP) since 1984. He started in an entry-level position in the power plant at CWLP and moved up to senior level engineering classification. He was the first non-operator to obtain the position of plant shift supervisor at CWLP. He became Manager of Power Generation Engineering in 1994 and was promoted to Chief Utilities Engineer in June 1999. He became the utility’s Assistant General Manager/Chief Utilities Engineer in fall 2008.

“We are very excited and pleased to welcome Jay to Prairie Power,” says PPI Chairman of the Board Wm. David Champion, Jr. “The board also wishes to extend its sincere gratitude and appreciation to Bob Harbour. Bob has done an outstanding job for PPI over his 18 years of service with the cooperative serving as Assistant Manager for Power Supply, Engineering & Operations, Vice President Engineering and Operations, Senior Vice President Engineering and Operations and President/CEO of PPI.”

Illinois Electric Co-ops Provide Seven Scholarships

Each year the cost of a college education continues to increase. In at least a small way, through the Illinois Electric Cooperative’s Memorial Scholarship, the co-op directors and employees have helped seven deserving students with $1,250 scholarships.

Candidates are judged on the basis of grade point average, college entrance exam scores, work and volunteer experience, school and civic activities, and a short essay that demonstrates their knowledge of electric cooperatives. More information, applications and guidelines can be obtained from high school guidance counselors, or by contacting your local electric cooperative. This year there were 262 applications.

The 2009 IEC Memorial Scholarship winners are: Matthew Schonert of Olney, Jared Eggerman of Carlyle, Caroline Bremer of Metropolis, and Daniel Bierman of Carmi. In the “son or daughter of an electric cooperative employee or director” category, the winner of the “Earl W. Struck Memorial Scholarship” is Rachel Brooks of Waterloo. Rachel is the daughter of Menard Electric Director Jerry Brooks. The two winners of the scholarships reserved for use at an Illinois Community College are: Kaylee McCollum of Flora and Matthew Altfillisch of Elizabeth.

EPA Says Greenhouse Gases Pose a Threat to Public Health and Welfare

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed finding in April, concluding that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. The finding opens greenhouse gas emissions to regulation under the Clean Air Act, although the Obama Administration has indicated a preference for comprehensive legislation to address climate change and to create the framework for a clean energy economy.

The proposed finding identified six major greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. Carbon dioxide is the dominant greenhouse gas emitted in the United States, and it is primarily emitted through the combustion of fossil fuels. Efforts to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide will largely involve reducing the emissions from fossil fuel use, either by minimizing energy use through energy efficiency; switching to cleaner energy sources, such as renewable energy; or capturing and sequestering the carbon dioxide emissions.

The EPA’s “endangerment finding” focuses on the impact of climate change rather than on specific regulatory proposals. Although the endangerment finding does not include any proposed regulations, it does specifically call out automobiles as a source of greenhouse gases. The proposed endangerment finding is in response to a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.



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Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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