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Illinois 51 MW moves step closer with power purchase agreement

Commonwealth Edison last month agreed to buy the entire output of the first utility-scale wind plant being built in Illinois, bringing the 51 MW project a significant step closer to realisation by mid-2003. To consist of NEG Micon 1.5 MW turbines, it is being developed by Illinois Wind Energy and Japan's Tomen Power Corporation at Crescent Ridge, about 110 miles west of Chicago. Tomen, a subsidiary of Tomen Power Holding Company, one of the world's largest wind power developers, will also provide the financing for the $50 million project. NEG Micon will make the turbines at its factory in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. The state is not known for its strong wind resources, but Crescent Ridge is considered one of the best locations with average wind speeds of 7.3-7.5 m/s. "The power purchase agreement with ComEd provides the economic assurance to make this project possible," says Illinois Wind Energy's Stefan Noe, a one-time Illinois director of Citizens for a Better Environment and a first-time wind developer. Noe has been working on the project since May of 2000 (Windpower Monthly, April 2001).

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