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Wind-whipping energy production may get boost

GRAYSLAKE -- Michael Bond thinks it's time for Illinois to harness the power of wind and sun on a grander scale. A bill sponsored by the freshman Democratic state senator from Grayslake would allow farms and small- to mid-size businesses that utilize wind turbines or solar energy to plug into the electricity distribution grid and get credit for the energy they produce. By removing barriers to financial compensation, Bond thinks the bill would encourage pollution-free energy and ease pressure on the electrical grid.

GRAYSLAKE -- Michael Bond thinks it's time for Illinois to harness the power of wind and sun on a grander scale.

A bill sponsored by the freshman Democratic state senator from Grayslake would allow farms and small- to mid-size businesses that utilize wind turbines or solar energy to plug into the electricity distribution grid and get credit for the energy they produce.

By removing barriers to financial compensation, Bond thinks the bill would encourage pollution-free energy and ease pressure on the electrical grid.

"By allowing this, not only do consumers get credit for their time, energy and efforts, but society as a whole benefits through decreased use of fossil fuel energy," said Bond, who lives in Prairie Crossing, a Grayslake development that already boasts an operational wind turbine.

A wind turbine located on the organic farm at Prairie Crossing has been spinning for about 3 years, and is generating enough energy to run the farm's lighting, refrigeration and pump irrigation systems.

The 20-kilowatt turbine is part of a ComEd pilot program under which it is hooked up to the electrical grid and the farm is given credit similar to the standards outlined in... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

GRAYSLAKE -- Michael Bond thinks it's time for Illinois to harness the power of wind and sun on a grander scale.

A bill sponsored by the freshman Democratic state senator from Grayslake would allow farms and small- to mid-size businesses that utilize wind turbines or solar energy to plug into the electricity distribution grid and get credit for the energy they produce.

By removing barriers to financial compensation, Bond thinks the bill would encourage pollution-free energy and ease pressure on the electrical grid.

"By allowing this, not only do consumers get credit for their time, energy and efforts, but society as a whole benefits through decreased use of fossil fuel energy," said Bond, who lives in Prairie Crossing, a Grayslake development that already boasts an operational wind turbine.

A wind turbine located on the organic farm at Prairie Crossing has been spinning for about 3½ years, and is generating enough energy to run the farm's lighting, refrigeration and pump irrigation systems.

The 20-kilowatt turbine is part of a ComEd pilot program under which it is hooked up to the electrical grid and the farm is given credit similar to the standards outlined in Bond's bill for the energy generated by the turbine.

Michael Sands, environmental team leader for Prairie Crossing, said the operation breaks even on its energy bill for the farm because the turbine energy is averaged annually.

The turbine, mounted on a 100-foot tower, generates more energy in the winter when stronger and more frequent winds blow, Sands said.

The wind turbine was purchased and installed for about $35,000.

"The presence of the wind turbine at the Prairie Crossing Farm has been both an economic aid for us and a visual icon in terms of demonstrating an interest in energy conservation and alternate energy sources," Sands said.

Bond said the bill was originally initiated through the lieutenant governor's office in the wake of the August 2003 blackout involving the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard electrical grids.

The "net metering" bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and has been forwarded to the full Senate for consideration.

The bill would allow owners wind- and solar-powered generating systems with a capacity of up to 40 kilowatts to receive credit for the energy they produce. The systems would be metered and hooked into the distribution grid, Bond said.

If the farm or business uses less energy than it produces, it would receive credit on its electric bill for the energy produced.

Bond has included an amendment to the bill that would allow alternate energy systems producing between 40 to 120 kilowatts to also receive credit, perhaps on a lower scale. That could allow mid-size businesses such as Best Buy and Home Depot a financial incentive for systems such as rooftop solar-energy panels.

Bond said the target would be for up to 1 percent of the power generated in Illinois to come from non-polluting sources. That 1 percent would be equal to about one-half of a coal-burning plant, Bond said.

"We think that's pretty significant," he said.

 



Source: http://www.suburbanchicagon...

MAR 10 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/7724-wind-whipping-energy-production-may-get-boost
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