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Hoosier Energy tapping into coal bed methane source

Hoosier Energy, an Indiana generation and transmission cooperative that serves 18 distribution co-ops in Indiana and Illinois will soon be one of the first to generate power using coal bed methane. No mining or scrubbing is needed and the release of carbon dioxide is cut in half.

Methane is produced by bacteria in coal beds. It has been tapped before and added to natural gas pipelines, but Hoosier Energy will be using it to generate 28 MW of electricity.

If released, methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Using it for electricity generation on site is considered by some to be one potential energy solution for the U.S., which has 23 percent of the world’s coal reserves. Unfortunately not all coal beds are suitable for coal bed methane extraction. For those that would work it could provide a clean use of our coal resources.


Rural Development funding increasing access to biofuels

Chances are you’re paying more to fill your gas tank than ever before. One federal agency has taken a step to expand the choices drivers have when they pull up to the gas pump. USDA Rural Development is providing an incentive to small retail fuel station owners to install flexible fuel pumps.

Loans and grants are available to these small businesses through the agency’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

“Few fuel stations in Illinois offer a biofuel blend greater than E-10,” said Colleen Callahan, state director for USDA Rural Development in Illinois. “Blender pumps make it possible for motorists to have more options, such as E15, E30 and E85. The greater the percentage of ethanol in the fuel, the lower the price.”

Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the results of E15 testing on vehicles years 2001 and younger. EPA’s findings confirm that these vehicles, accounting for about 60 percent of the vehicles on the road today, can safely use E15.

“We have worked for years to find ways to economically produce ethanol, biodiesel and other bio-based fuel, and we’ve been pretty successful,” Callahan said. “The missing link has been affordable technology for pumps that can handle biofuel.”

More information on REAP is available at www.rurdev.usda.gov/Energy.html or by calling Molly Hammond at 217-403-6210 or Mary Warren at 217-403-6218 in Illinois’ Rural Development State Office.


Co-op owned wind turbine gets new generator

Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative’s GobNob wind turbine at Farmersville recently had a new, improved generator installed under the co-op’s warranty contract.  President/CEO David Stuva said the generator was out of service for three weeks due to a short circuit in the windings, caused by a manufacturing defect.

A new generator was delivered on June 9, and cranes and equipment were assembled to remove the rotor and generator the week of June 13. The large round generator was detached from the blade assembly, the new generator connected, and then lifted back to the top of the 230-foot tower, Stuva said.

“The manufacturer, EWT, is standing behind their equipment and doing this replacement at no cost to RECC,” Stuva said. “The generator winding process has been improved, so we expect better durability that will keep GobNob turbine turning for many years.” The wind system is visible for miles around Farmersville, and has become a familiar sight for drivers on nearby Interstate 55.

  The GobNob turbine was installed in December 2008, and began producing electricity in March 2009.  To date it has produced nearly four million kilowatt hours that were used by the member-consumers of RECC.



Illinois Innovation Network to help business startups

Governor Pat Quinn in May launched the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) to give Illinois entrepreneurs the resources needed to build and grow their businesses and create more jobs. The IIN, which includes business and educational leaders, is the first initiative created by the Governor’s Illinois Innovation Council, a public-private partnership launched in February to accelerate innovative economic development and job creation efforts in the state’s flourishing startup sector.

“Innovation is the key to being competitive in the global marketplace, which is why we must do everything we can to help our businesses develop new and innovative ideas and technologies,” said Governor Quinn.

The Illinois Innovation Council is chaired by Groupon Co-Founder and Director Brad Keywell and is made up of key business executives across a variety of critical sectors, along with science, technology and university leaders. The council’s mission is to promote, develop and

attract innovation-driven enterprises and individuals to Illinois and to also develop policies to cultivate and retain entrepreneurs, innovative researchers and other enterprises. For more information please visit www.IllinoisInnovation.com.


Helping service members transition to life back home

Returning home from deployment can be difficult for any service member. However, resources like the Real Warriors Campaign are available for service members who are experiencing challenges associated with transition.

Sponsored by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), the Real Warriors Campaign is a public education initiative designed to encourage service members, veterans, and their families to seek care and treatment for the invisible wounds of war.

“Warriors are hesitant to seek treatment for invisible wounds because of a fear that it will affect their career, but that’s a myth,” Capt. Paul S. Hammer, DCoE Director, said. “In fact, if you don’t seek help, it will affect your career because down the road, symptoms may affect a service member’s ability to do his or her job effectively.”

To help service members and families with transitions and reintegration, the Real Warriors Campaign website provides tools, tips and resources such as the ones below to encourage service members, veterans and military families coping with invisible wounds to reach out for support.

The Outreach Center allows anyone to confidentially speak with health care professionals 24/7 by calling 1-866-966-1020, by using the online Live Chat feature, or by emailing resources@dcoeoutreach.org.

The Real Warriors Campaign is online at www.realwarriors.net. For general inquiries, e-mail dcoe.realwarriors@tma.osd.mil. Source: Family Features


Illinois LIHEAP will not receive Federal funding this summer

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity reported that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) would not be getting any federal funding this summer. Department spokesman Mike Claffey said the reduction is necessary to help heat homes across Illinois next winter, which is the program’s top priority.

He also said that the state “could face a 60 percent reduction in federal funding for the program for fiscal year 2012. If the summer heat turns severe, Claffey said the governor could declare a state of emergency, and Federal and state agencies would coordinate to provide cooling centers and other help.


Find broadband service in your area

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has unveiled the National Broadband Map. The map is the first ever public, searchable nationwide map of broadband Internet availability. People can use the map to search 25 million records of information about where broadband Internet access service is available, the types of technology used to provide the service, the maximum advertised speeds and the available service providers in a given location. It was created by NTIA in collaboration with the FCC using data collected from broadband providers and other sources.

The map will be updated every six months and includes an element where the public and providers can provide feedback. Government and industry officials expect the map’s granular information on the country’s broadband availability to help better identify unserved areas and provide further information for making policy decisions. The National Broadband Map can be accessed at www.broadbandmap.gov.


Why not bury the power lines?

After all the terrible ice storms, wind storms and tornadoes Illinois electric co-ops have seen in the last few years some members asked why not just bury the power lines?

Sounds like an easy solution. The problem is the cost.

Norris Electric Cooperative Manager Keith McKinney gives this explanation. “Our three phase overhead construction costs about $60,000 per mile. Underground is at least twice as much, or around $120,000 per mile. We have about 4,000 miles of line, not all of it is three phase. So, if we figure 3,000 miles of underground then you have a cost of around $360 million. We presently have around $80 million in plant. Our members cannot afford the change.”

Besides the cost, underground cable is harder to find and repair when there are faults, and the life of the cable is probably less than half of overhead construction.

© 2014 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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