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Ill. wind farm developers not likely to get lift from state

An effort in Springfield to ensure Illinois wind power developers get a cut of the 20-year contracts the state is preparing to offer for electricity generated by wind farms is dead. Talks between Exelon Corp., parent of Commonwealth Edison Co., and wind power developers ended last week without an agreement to lift Exelon's opposition to setting aside a portion of the 20-year deals for in-state wind farms.

An effort in Springfield to ensure Illinois wind power developers get a cut of the 20-year contracts the state is preparing to offer for electricity generated by wind farms is dead.

Talks between Exelon Corp., parent of Commonwealth Edison Co., and wind power developers ended last week without an agreement to lift Exelon's opposition to setting aside a portion of the 20-year deals for in-state wind farms.

Participants and observers familiar with the matter said the issue is dead.

Kevin Borgia, executive director of the Illinois Wind Energy Assn., wouldn't go that far, but said, "I'll admit it's not looking good."

The development is surprising given that Gov. Pat Quinn pushed hard late last year to encourage development of new wind farms in the state by convincing state utility regulators to allow the Illinois Power Agency, which buys electricity on behalf of residential and small-business customers of ComEd and other utilities, to seek bids for 20-year deals. But the IPA subsequently interpreted an existing state law that gives preference to in-state developers in buying wind power as expiring before the new long-term pacts go into effect in 2012.

The wind lobby initially tried to get the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

An effort in Springfield to ensure Illinois wind power developers get a cut of the 20-year contracts the state is preparing to offer for electricity generated by wind farms is dead.

Talks between Exelon Corp., parent of Commonwealth Edison Co., and wind power developers ended last week without an agreement to lift Exelon's opposition to setting aside a portion of the 20-year deals for in-state wind farms.

Participants and observers familiar with the matter said the issue is dead.

Kevin Borgia, executive director of the Illinois Wind Energy Assn., wouldn't go that far, but said, "I'll admit it's not looking good."

The development is surprising given that Gov. Pat Quinn pushed hard late last year to encourage development of new wind farms in the state by convincing state utility regulators to allow the Illinois Power Agency, which buys electricity on behalf of residential and small-business customers of ComEd and other utilities, to seek bids for 20-year deals. But the IPA subsequently interpreted an existing state law that gives preference to in-state developers in buying wind power as expiring before the new long-term pacts go into effect in 2012.

The wind lobby initially tried to get the Legislature to extend the law's preference for Illinois developers for five years, but that foundered. Its fallback position was to see that the existing law's preference is applied to the forthcoming procurement, slated to occur within weeks. But Exelon, one of the nation's largest nuclear power generators, with six nuclear stations in Illinois, opposed the concessions, saying they would raise electric bills.

If nothing is done, Mr. Borgia said, it's a "very good possibility" that no Illinois wind developers will win any of the contracts because the cost of wind power here is more expensive than in other states like Texas, Iowa and North Dakota, where breezes blow more consistently and property taxes are lower.

The wind-power bids the IPA is preparing to solicit will cover up to 3.5% of Illinois utilities' electricity needs.


Source: http://www.chicagobusiness....

APR 28 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/25973-ill-wind-farm-developers-not-likely-to-get-lift-from-state
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