Alternative energy builder Mortenson recently added three new Illinois wind-farm projects to its construction list, which will contribute an additional 289 MW of electricity to the state by the end of 2018 — and an additional 194 MWs in 2019.
“Illinois is an ideal state for wind energy, both because of its geography and its need for power due to major manufacturing centers and large population,” said Tim Maag, Vice President and General Manager of Mortenson’s Wind Energy Group. “Despite ranking sixth in the nation for wind energy, though, Illinois has to really ramp up energy from renewables very quickly to meet its goals.”
The new wind projects will help toward that goal. Mortenson is building the Walnut Ridge Wind Project in Bureau and Whiteside Counties for BHE Renewables, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway Energy. The project includes engineering and construction of roads to the site and the foundations and installation of 106 Vestas V110 turbines.
The company is also building transmission lines, met towers, interconnect facility, and collection substation that links into the Commonwealth Edison electrical grid. Started in August 2017, the wind farm will be completed in late 2018 and begin generating 212 MW, enough to power the equivalent of 63,600 homes.
“According to the American Wind Energy Association, as of 2016, wind power contributed less than 6% of all electricity in Illinois. Yet renewable portfolio standards require Illinois electric companies to generate 25% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025,” Maag noted.
Work also is underway in Lee County at the 15-year-old Mendota Hills Wind Farm for Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC. Mortenson is replacing 63 wind turbines with 29 more powerful SG 2.6-126 wind turbines. The repowering project, which will be completed in December 2018, will increase total capacity to 76 MW from roughly 50 MW.
“We are pleased to have an experienced construction firm like Mortenson as our partner on the Mendota Hills repowering,” said Greg Wolf, CEO of Leeward Renewable Energy. “Together, we will focus on safely bringing today’s modern technology to this proven wind project.”
With 23 years of alternative energy construction, Mortenson has built more than 220 U.S. wind farms in North America contributing more than 24,000 MW of energy. The two Illinois projects are Mortenson’s 9th and 10th wind projects in the state. Illinois wind power produces 4,332 MW each year, according to the U.S. Wind Energy 4th Quarter 2017 Market Report from American Wind Energy Association.
Mortenson will also be hosting its wind energy Thought Leader Theater at the AWEA Windpower Conference & Exhibition, May 7 to 10, in Chicago at the McCormick Center. More information on the conference can be found here.