Illinois wind farms will bring nearly $6 billion to the state's economy over the lifetime of the projects, including over 19,000 new construction, maintenance and manufacturing jobs, according to a new study released by Illinois State University's (ISU) Center for Renewable Energy.
The study finds that the 3.3 GW of installed wind generation in Illinois will:
generate a total economic benefit of $5.98 billion over the projects' 25-year lifespan;
provide $28.5 million in annual property taxes;
generate $13.05 million in annual lease payments to landowners;
create approximately 19,047 full-time equivalent jobs during construction; and
support approximately 814 permanent jobs in rural Illinois, with annual payrolls over $48 million.
Planned wind farm projects statewide would mean an additional 12,700 jobs and millions of dollars more to local economies through payments to landowners and property tax revenue. But, those projects are on hold because of uncertainty about the extension of the wind energy production tax credit (PTC).
The study demonstrates the economic growth that wind energy brings to Illinois communities, and is another reason for the state's congressional delegation to support an immediate extension of the PTC.
"Strong clean energy policy combined with the PTC has helped fuel the growth of more than 10,000 MW of wind power in the Midwest ISO in the last decade. We would like to see that continue to grow and provide the economic benefit described in this report to the entire nation," says Beth Soholt, executive director of Wind on the Wires, a regional partner of the American Wind Energy Association.
Labor groups reiterated the fact that wind energy has become a major source of construction jobs for rural Illinois in recent years.
"Wind energy is critical to economic recovery. For laborers, wind farms have meant jobs a worker can be proud of, and they provide family-sustaining wages. Laborers are proud to not only be building these wind towers, but building a sustainable future for our nation," says Michael Matejka, governmental affairs director for the Great Plains Laborers District Council.
In fact, Illinois boasts 28 manufacturing facilities that make components for the wind industry. Failure to pass the PTC puts these important manufacturing jobs on the line, the report finds.