Search the site:
Illinois Country Living


Grants help G&T co-op upgrade coal plant efficiency

Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC) received grant money in October to help fund a $3.6 million energy efficiency and reliability improvement to its Lake of Egypt Power Plant Unit 4. Providing wholesale power to seven Illinois distribution

co-ops, the generation and transmission co-ops’ improvements will save 26.68 GWh, reduce CO2 emissions and save the average co-op member between $8.89 - $14.82 a year.

SIPC will receive an Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Coal Demonstration Grant award for $1.5 million, and a $455,000 Electric Energy Efficiency Grant from the State Energy Plan, which is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The project will replace motors for forced draft and booster fans with the latest generation of Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) to increase reliability and efficiency. The VFDs will allow the fan motors to operate at a lower power level resulting in a reduced cost to produce electricity.

“On behalf of SIPC, I wish to thank DCEO for their generous grant to assist in installing state-of-the art controls at our Marion Generation Plant (Unit #4). I also wish to thank our local State Legislators: Senator Forby, and Representatives Reitz, Phelps and Bradley, for their support in making this project become a reality,” said SIPC President W. Scott Ramsey. “Clearly, this is an excellent example of how private industry and government can work together to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions, and provide job improvement in southern Illinois. SIPC prides itself on continuing to provide reasonably priced wholesale power from one of the cleanest-burning plants in Illinois and the new project will make that even more so.”

Interior Department approves first U.S. offshore wind farm

After almost a decade of federal study and analysis, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) approved the $1 billion Cape Wind project on April 21, allowing the first U.S. offshore wind farm to move ahead. Cape Wind is a 130-turbine wind power project off the Massachusetts coast. It will have a maximum electric output of 468 megawatts (MW), with an average anticipated output of 182 MW. Those in opposition to the project say it would disturb culturally significant sites on the seabed floor and would visually interfere with their cultural activities. But Secretary Salazar disagreed, noting that Nantucket Sound is far from pristine, already featuring undersea power lines, communication towers along its coasts and the visual impacts associated with aviation, shipping, fishing and recreational boating. Those visual impacts are far greater than the impacts of wind turbines located at least 5.2 miles from the mainland, according to Secretary Salazar.

In approving Cape Wind, DOI noted that there are other offshore wind power proposals in neighboring northeastern states, all seeking to tap the region’s estimated offshore wind power potential of 1 million MW.

Energy Star-crossed consumers

The New York Times revealed some manufacturers of household appliances were testing products for Energy Star-certification internally instead of using independent laboratories. In response, Energy Star ramped up oversight of product ratings and by the end of the year had revoked the Energy Star label for some refrigerators while raising the bar for the efficiency expected from TVs.

Energy Star rated products are generally in the top 25 percent. For example, qualified refrigerators must be at least 15 percent more efficient than the minimum federal efficiency standard. Energy Star-rated TVs consume 3 watts or less when switched off, compared to a standard TV, which consumes almost 6 watts on average.

To learn more about the Energy Star program, visit

Renewable biogas energy workshop

If you are interested in learning about turning animal waste into an energy resource, then mark your calendar for November 23 event hosted by Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative. A workshop open to swine producers, electric cooperatives, county and municipal government planning members, engineers and energy and environmental consultants, and advocates of biogas energy recovery and combined heat and power (CHP) will be held at the Ford-Iroquois Extension Office, 912 W. Seminary, Onarga, Ill.

Attendees will learn about:

• Anaerobic digester and biogas energy recovery technologies and concepts

• Steps to developing a successful biogas to energy project

• Experiences and lessons learned from a swine producer with a working project

• Connecting to the grid, available support and resources

For more information contact Sam Rinaldi - 312-996-2554 or, or go to

Earl Struck honored

The late Earl W. Struck, former President/CEO of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, was honored at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Region 5 and 6 meeting in Minneapolis, Minn. on Sept. 15. Sherry Struck accepted the NRECA Regional Award for Outstanding Service on behalf of her late husband.

In presenting the award, Wally Wolski, NRECA President and Wyoming Director, spoke of Struck as a champion of rural electric cooperatives and of his great work and dedication. Struck was nominated by Phil Carson, Tri-County Electric Cooperative Director and Illinois representative on the NRECA Board of Directors. In his nomination letter Carson stated, “Earl personified the co-op values of integrity, accountability and commitment to community. He was a great judge of character and was blessed with outstanding common sense and political acumen - traits that made his counsel frequently consulted on the state, regional and national levels. Earl Struck’s legacy strengthens our cause as cooperatives.”


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

Designed and Maintained by Cooperative Design and Print.

Current Issue Archive About Us Advertisers Contact Us FAQ