From the WindPower show ...

David G. Loomis at WINDPOWER 2013A couple of weeks ago we’d been contacted by the WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition show to see if we’d be interested in covering it. This is a fairly large show for the wind power industry, and we figured that, while being bigger and more corporate than what we usually cover, it certainly qualified as “green tech”. OF course, at this sort of industrial show, there was a lot of equipment being shown/featured, and we figured that that was not exactly what most of our readers were interested in, so we tried to find folks that were doing interesting things, rather than selling really huge doohickeys!

We shot four interviews with Chicago-area organizations today, and have appointments with another four tomorrow morning … so you’re likely to be seeing quite a lot on the subject over the next week or so!

The longest interview we had today was with David G. Loomis, Ph.D., a professor of economics at Illinois State University (down in Bloomington-Normal), which hosts the Center for Renewable Energy. The following is from the most recent “economic impact” report for wind power from that group:

As of April, 2012, Illinois ranked 4th in the United States in overall installed wind capacity and ranked 14th in potential capacity. Illinois installed the second most new generation capacity amongst all states during 2011. Illinois led the nation in 2011 with 404 new turbines insatalled. Illinois currently has 42 wind projects online, which account for 3,360.28 MW of wind generating capacity.

The prospect of there being an active wind farm … out in the Lake … just north of the border in Evanston is both exciting and somewhat off-putting. It wasn’t too long ago that the State was telling Northwestern University that they couldn’t move ahead with their landfill-expansion plans, and now they’re willing to stick massive turbine towers right off-shore? Government moves in mysterious ways.

Here are some interesting figures from the “economic impact” section of that Wind Farms and Growth report:

  • Supports approximately 814 permanent jobs in rural Illinois areas with a total annual payroll of nearly $48 million.
  • Generates $13 million annually in extra income for Illinois landowners who lease their land to the wind farm developer.
  • Will generate a total economic benefit of $5.98 billion over the life of the projects.

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