Geronimo Energy (Geronimo), alongside power purchasers and community members, celebrated the economic and social benefits from the operational 194 megawatt (MW) Green River Wind Farm (Green River). Green River, located in Lee and Whiteside Counties in Illinois within the PJM Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) system, began major onsite construction activities in June 2018 and entered operations at the end of 2019.
Green River has Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPA) with Apple, Akamai Technologies, and Swiss Re, as well as a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA). Akamai, Etsy and Swiss Re previously had limited opportunity to access large renewable energy projects in the regions covered by the thirteen state PJM wholesale electric market. By collaborating with Apple, these companies were able to access wind and solar power from the new projects at competitive prices and agreement terms. Collaborations like this accelerate the pace at which new renewable energy generation is built and brought online.
3Degrees facilitated the renewable energy aggregation with the corporate power purchasers. The project was built by Mortenson and utilizes Siemens Gamesa wind turbines. It was developed and is operated by Geronimo Energy.
The project employed approximately 200 construction workers at its peak and boosted local economies with increased local spending as a direct result of this influx of temporary workers. As an operating project, Green River has begun to provide positive long-term economic impacts to the local and state communities. The project has created 11 new full-time jobs at its Operations & Maintenance building located in Deer Grove, Illinois. Additionally, throughout the first 20 years of operations, Geronimo estimates the project will provide $35 million in new tax revenue and $20 million in landowner payments.
"In this time of budget uncertainty, Ohio Community School Districts #17 and #505 are excited to begin planning how to best use the new tax revenue generated by Green River Wind Farm," stated Jennifer Hamilton, Superintendent for the Ohio School District's Elementary and High Schools. "The Green River Wind Farm brings an increase in combined revenue of at least $650,000 to the Ohio District boundaries - a more than 15% increase to the operating budgets for both of the Ohio School Districts - and provides the students of Ohio Community Schools and local residents significant benefits. This new tax revenue generated by Green River allows each District to further our focus on student achievement, continue with our building improvement plans, and reduce our local property tax rate."
"Bureau Valley is fortunate to be in an area where our EAV has risen substantially over the past couple of years. Much of our increased assessed value is a result of new wind farms, including Green River Wind Farm, constructed inside our district boundaries," stated Jason Stabler, Superintendent for Bureau Valley School District. "The anticipated additional revenue, as a result of our increased EAV, comes at a critical time for our district and our country as we face many uncertainties in the near future. The additional resources will help us continue to provide support for our families and communities of Bureau Valley."
The communities surrounding Green River will also benefit from the Green River Community Fund (the Fund). The Fund's board of directors has been elected and is comprised of local residents and landowners in and around the project footprint. The charitable donations, totaling $776,000 over a 20-year period, will be directed by this local board and are above and beyond all tax revenue generated by the project. The Fund's board anticipates calling for grant applications from local charities at the end of 2020.
"The Green River Community Fund contributions of $38,800 per year are a wonderful benefit for our community," stated Rick Clary, newly elected President of the local Green River Community Fund. "These donations will help our community board give back to local non-profit organizations and further enrich and strengthen our community and our residents. We couldn't be more excited to begin the process of formalizing our board and look forward to being able to start accepting grant applications later this year."
"We're very pleased to see the Green River Wind Farm achieve commercial operation," said Kevin Gaden, President & CEO for IMEA. "This resource fits our needs to cost effectively add another carbon-free source while we continue to diversify our portfolio. We are proud to be a part of an Illinois-based project that will bring power to the Member municipalities we serve across the state."
"Swiss Re has been an avid supporter of sustainable business practices as an insurer as well as a global corporate citizen," said Brian Beebe, Head of Origination North America, Weather and Energy, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. "To our employees we provide 100% impactful green power by entering a long-term contract with the Green River Wind Farm. To our customers we provide tailored insurance solutions that bring their renewables projects across the finish line."
"We are very happy to see the Green River project come online and provide renewable energy for our data center operations in Illinois," said Mike Mattera, director of sustainability, Akamai Technologies Inc. "This marks an important milestone in our global strategy and contributes to reducing our environmental impact in the areas where we work, operate and live. In addition to this project providing renewable energy to our data center footprint, it is great to see the tax revenue support local education initiatives in the Bureau Valley School District."
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