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Lena, Ill.-based Acciona Energy North America dedicated its first wind farm in Illinois with a ceremony and luncheon. The company also presented superintendents from Lena-Winslow and Warren school districts each with a $5,000 annual scholarship fund for deserving high school seniors planning to pursue a secondary education leading to a career contributing to sustainability.

The 100.5 MW EcoGrove Wind Farm, located in Stephenson County, Ill., uses 67 Acciona Windpower 1.5 MW wind turbines and is spread across approximately 7,000 rural acres. With the exception of the small footprint made by the 67 turbines, at less than one acre each, land use is dominated by farming, which coexists with the wind energy production, according to the company.

Stephenson County made an investment in the EcoGrove project earlier this year, when 14 taxing districts unanimously approved a tax abatement for the project. This tax abatement, a sales/use tax exemption and other incentives were part of the state of Illinois Enterprise Zone Act for which the EcoGrove project met the criteria.

The wind turbines used at EcoGrove were produced at Acciona's West Branch, Iowa, manufacturing facility. The project itself was constructed by 125 local trades people and numerous local and regional suppliers and service providers. Nine of the 10 service technicians filling the project's newly created jobs are from the local area and include volunteer firefighters, retired military personnel, welders, machinists and a racecar driver.

Construction of the wind farm, including turbine erection, was managed by The Morse Group. The project was acquired by Acciona from EcoEnergy LLC, which continued to serve the project in a development and consultative capacity through the completion of the project.

SOURCE: Acciona Energy

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