WASHINGTON , DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative (IREC) will receive the 2005 Wind Cooperative of the Year Award. The utility was cited for its leadership, demonstrated success, and innovation in its wind power program.
"Illinois Rural Electric has been awarded for its innovation and commitment to wind power," said Douglas L. Faulkner, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "They have demonstrated that wind power can contribute to a cleaner environment, a stronger local economy and act as a hedge against rising fuel costs."
IREC, a member-owned utility in Winchester, IL, is the first co-op in the state to install a wind power projects and serves more than 10,000 consumer/owners throughout 10 western-central IL counties. The 1.65-megawatt project was partially financed through federal and state funds, and was completed in May 2005. Highlighting the project's potential, a recent wind resource assessment indicates that Pike County, IL could support as many as 100 projects of this size, which could add as much as $7 million to the local tax base.
This award, sponsored by DOE's Wind Powering America effort in conjunction with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the Cooperative Research Network (CRN), was presented at the opening session of NRECA's TechAdvantage 2006 Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida. The IL cooperative was one of six rural member-owned utilities nominated this year.
President Bush's Fiscal Year 2007 budget request calls for increased funding of 12.8% to diversify wind energy programs and research. Wind Powering America is a DOE activity committed to dramatically increasing the use of wind energy in the United States. For more information, visit www.windpoweringamerica.gov
Previous Wind Cooperative of the Year awardees are Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (Oklahoma), Holy Cross Energy (Colorado), Basin Electric Power Cooperative (North Dakota), and Great River Energy (Minnesota).
Michael Waldron, 202/586-4940
Tom Welch, 202/586-5806