GUEST EDITORIAL


Alta Farms wind project: A win-win-win

Tom Swierczewski

Senior Development Director at Tradewind Energy and Project Manager for Alta Farms Wind Project II, LLC

Growing up in Illinois, I always felt pride in our state’s economic might. For generations, Illinois has been a leader in agriculture, manufacturing, technology and so much more.

Over the years, some of those sectors have grown, and others have declined. Some of our cities have prospered while many rural communities have struggled. That’s why wind energy is so exciting for Illinois: it is injecting new investment and job creation in areas of our state that need it most and stand to benefit from it in a significant way.

As we continue to work with the community to gain the necessary approvals to bring the Alta Farms Wind Project to reality, I want to again express how honored we at Tradewind Energy are to present this project.  We are proud of the proposal currently in front of DeWitt County’s Zoning Board of Appeals, not only because it meets or exceeds all of DeWitt County’s ordinance requirements, but also because it details a first-rate wind farm that will be an asset to the entire community. We strongly believe in this project and are confident it can play an important role in the economic and agricultural progress of DeWitt County. Alta Farms truly is a win, win, win.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, by the third quarter of 2019, Illinois had achieved $9.9 billion in rural economic investment from wind, representing more than 7,000 industry jobs and 34 manufacturing facilities. The state of Illinois benefits significantly from its world-class wind resource and DeWitt County has a great opportunity to share in those benefits.

In an economic impact analysis created for Alta Farms II, Dr. David Loomis of Illinois State University found that, during construction, this project will create more than 230 local construction jobs, bring approximately a dozen local permanent jobs, and generate approximately $13.8 million in new local earnings. We have also committed to use skilled local labor during construction, which will include hiring electrical workers, laborers, iron workers and operators from across central Ilinois.

That’s significant. It’s immediate jobs for the local community.

Longer-term, Alta Farms will provide additional property taxes to local taxing districts during the first 30 years including approximately $22 million to Clinton School District, $4.6 million to DeWitt County, $4.2 million to three host Townships and $5.9 million total for Library, Community College and Fire Districts.

That is also significant.

We are thankful for the outpouring of support we’ve received from the community. This is truly the beginning of a great 40-year partnership.

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