Illinois governor announces $4 million renewable
energy development fund to promote wind energy
Chicago, IL— Governor Rod
R. Blagojevich announced the launch of the $4 million Renewable
Energy Development (RED) Fund that will support community-scale
wind energy projects throughout Illinois. The Illinois Finance
Authority (IFA) will work with community banks and lenders to
provide loans and loan guarantees to qualified farmers and farmer
co-operatives who construct wind turbines for use as alternative
energy. The program begins immediately with a goal to launch community-scale
projects by the end of 2006 that will generate new wind-to-energy
market capacity across the state. This aggressive effort to promote
the use of wind energy in Illinois is part of the Governor’s
Opportunity Returns initiative, his comprehensive, pro-active
strategy to promote economic growth throughout the state.
Earlier this year, Governor Blagojevich
announced his commitment to a Renewable Energy Standard for Illinois
with a plan for the state to get 8 percent of its total electricity
supply from renewable energy resources like wind by 2012 - up
from less than 1 percent today. A recent study by the University
of Illinois at Chicago found that Governor Blagojevich’s
plan also would create 7,800 jobs by 2012.
The Illinois Clean Energy Community
Foundation (ICECF) and the IFA worked together to develop the
RED Fund to support a primary mission of both organizations: to
encourage and support development of renewable energy resources.
With the Foundation providing the financial resources, the Authority
will use its financing expertise and community banking relationships
to help Illinois farming operations obtain access to capital for
“Gov. Blagojevich understands
wind turbines help farmers and co-ops diversify their income stream
which, in turn, helps strengthen the economic environment throughout
Illinois,” said Jill Rendleman, interim executive director
of the IFA.
Within the next six months, the
IFA will host at least three informational seminars across Illinois
to educate farmers, landowners, developers and agricultural lenders
about the RED Fund and its requirements. Community banks will
be encouraged to lend funds for the development of wind projects
that meet the Authority’s qualifying parameters. The same
evaluation and approval process currently in use for existing
IFA loans and guarantees will be used.
Under the general provisions
of the RED Fund, borrowers must contribute a minimum of 10 percent
equity and are limited to community-scale projects that are under
20 megawatts. Projects must be located in Illinois and will be
required to meet the specific requirements of the participation
loan or loan guarantee being requested.
Governor Blagojevich has also
supported wind energy through grants from the Illinois Department
of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). DCEO has, for instance,
provided $250,000 for a wind turbine installed by the Illinois
Rural Electric Cooperative in Pike County and a $150,000 grant
to Bureau Valley School District in Bureau County.