Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced a project that over a three-year period will support wind turbine and transmission manufacturing in Illinois and create 1,450 union construction jobs. The Rock Island Clean Line will enable some $7 billion worth of investments in new wind energy projects to move forward.
A $2 billion Rock Island Clean Line transmission line will deliver 3,500 megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable energy to communities and businesses across Illinois and other states to the east. The project will allow greater access to low-cost clean wind energy and will deliver enough energy to power more than 1.4 million Midwest homes. In addition to creating clean energy construction jobs, building the Rock Island Clean Line overhead high voltage direct current (OHVDC) transmission line will boost clean energy manufacturing in Illinois and the Midwest.
Developing wind and renewable energy resources has been a focal point of Gov. Quinn’s administration. The Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandates that renewable energy resources are to supply 25% of Illinois’ electricity needs by 2025. Seventy-five percent of that is to come from wind energy. There are 2,743 MW of wind generation installed in Illinois, enough to power nearly 1 million homes, and 523 MW of new wind is now under construction.
A study conducted by Illinois State University found that wind energy in Illinois supports local economies by generating $22.2 million in annual property taxes, and supports nearly 600 permanent jobs and over 13,000 construction jobs, according to an Illinois State University study.
Gov. Quinn highlighted the magnitude of the project and stressed its benefits, not only in terms of generating clean, renewable energy and long-term job creation in construction and manufacturing, but also in terms of the principal role renewable energy investment is playing in terms of enhancing US energy independence and security.