Report: Illinois' growth lags other Midwest states;
Broken energy policy to blame
CHICAGO, IL - All indicators
point to Kansas eclipsing Illinois from the Top 5 U.S. states for installed
wind generation by end of year, according to a report released today.
The American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter
2016 Market Report indicated that Illinois added no new wind power to the grid
in 2016 and has only two projects under construction. Meanwhile states like
Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri are all adding significant wind capacity to their
"2016 is another slow year
for the wind power growth in Illinois," said Kevin Borgia, Public Policy
Manager for Wind on the Wires. "This is unfortunate, because Illinois has
a strong wind resource, huge electric demand, and residents that want more
clean, low cost wind on the grid."
Illinois traditionally has long
been a wind power leader, but its role has been sliding in recent years. Four
years ago, Illinois ranked 4th in the country in installed capacity, but
Oklahoma pushed Illinois from that position in 2014.
The report shows the Midwest
remains a leader in wind development. Oklahoma is now on pace to become
the third-ranked state in installed capacity by the end of 2016, overtaking
California. Among other findings about Midwest states, it notes that Iowa has
seven wind power projects currently under construction and Missouri is expected
to more than double its installed capacity by the end of 2017. Currently,
Illinois has only two projects under construction.
Illinois's slow growth is
generally attributed to the lack of a comprehensive state energy policy and
broken Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Lawmakers, environmentalists,
utilities and other stakeholders are currently debating fixes to the RPS law,
but the conversation has been mired in a broader energy debate in the state
Capitol for years.
"EDP Renewables has
invested more than $1.5 billion in its Twin Groves, Rail Splitter, and Top Crop
Wind Farms in Illinois" said Ryan Brown, EDP Renewables Executive Vice
President. "Investment is flowing to the farmers, local businesses, towns,
and counties in nearby states while Illinois continues to stand on the sidelines,
failing to harvest the clean, local resource that is wind. We urge Illinois
lawmakers to act to fix the renewable energy law and get wind growth back on
The report details wind power
projects throughout the country and provides data on all commercial scale wind
power installed and under construction for 3rd Quarter 2016. A copy of the
report can be found here.
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Wind on the Wires is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
organization based in St. Paul, Minn., that works to advance renewable energy
in the Midwest. Its members are comprised of wind and solar developers,
environmental organizations, tribal representatives, public interest groups,
clean energy advocates, farm groups and businesses providing goods and services
to the wind and solar industries.