September 19, 2007
Jo-Carroll Energy Unveils Plan for Renewable Energy Plant
ELIZABETH, Ill., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Jo-Carroll Energy announced today its plan to build an 80 megawatt, biomass-fueled, renewable energy center on approximately 60 acres immediately south of the Danisco plant on Illinois State Route 84 between Savanna and Thomson. The project would be the first of its kind in the state of Illinois.
Several dozen community and civic leaders, including numerous elected officials, joined Jo-Carroll Energy leadership at the press conference for the announcement.
"Earlier this year, Jo-Carroll Energy successfully completed a service territory acquisition that transformed the cooperative into our region's premier energy provider," said Jo-Carroll Energy President and CEO Michael Hastings. "Throughout that process, we told our consumers that a stronger Jo-Carroll Energy would be the best way to ensure long-term rate stability for the people of northwestern Illinois. Today, we take a major step toward delivering on that promise."
The plant will be fueled by various types of renewable biomass, such as clean waste wood, corn stover and switchgrass. By using fuel stocks that were once living plants removing carbon dioxide from the air, the facility will have a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional power plants. The plant will only accept clean biomass, eliminating the potential for emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxide and other harmful compounds.
Emissions from the facility will be scrubbed to meet or exceed all applicable environmental regulations.
"As a locally based, member-owned cooperative, Jo-Carroll Energy has a vested interest in the communities we serve," said Hastings. "Northwestern Illinois is our home. Our children breathe this air. We are committed to building a project that meets our growing energy needs, promotes long-term rate stability, creates good-paying jobs, adds to the local tax base, and supports local agriculture in a sustainable, environmentally responsible fashion."
The facility will have the capacity produce enough electricity to power more than 10,000 homes. In addition to generating electricity, the plant intends to sell the steam it produces to the adjacent Danisco plant for use in that company's industrial processes.
The projected cost of the facility is approximately $140 million. The cooperative hopes to start construction in 2009 and begin operations in 2012. Hastings said the project is still in the planning phase, and many variables remain.
"There are still a lot of details that must be resolved before we can move forward," Hastings said. "But we know one thing for sure: This project makes too much sense on too many levels for Jo-Carroll Energy to not step up and try to do something positive for the people of our region."
The largest unresolved question is the funding package for the project.
"We are exploring every possible funding scenario for the plant," Hastings said. "Jo-Carroll Energy is talking to other utilities -- including other cooperatives -- about potential equity partnerships, but no agreements have been reached yet. Another important component of the funding package will be various economic development and renewable energy incentives offered by local, state and federal agencies. We will work closely with officials from all of these organizations to aggressively pursue grants and other financial incentives that are essential to make a project of this magnitude become a reality."
Jo-Carroll Energy Chairman of the Board Joe Mattingley said that the cooperative will seek feedback from civic, business and community leaders throughout the development process.
"As a not-for-profit cooperative, our objective is to enhance the quality of life in our region through safe and reliable service at the lowest practical cost," Mattingley said. "This project is consistent with that vision, and we will work with the community to ensure that our new facility is a good neighbor. As the details of our plan come in to focus, we will be sure to keep stakeholders abreast of developments, and seek their input where appropriate."
Jo-Carroll Energy is a not-for-profit distribution cooperative owned and controlled by the members it has reliably served since 1939. Headquartered in Elizabeth, Ill., the cooperative currently serves more than 26,000 electric and natural gas accounts in Jo Daviess, Carroll and Whiteside Counties. For more information on Jo-Carroll Energy, visit the cooperative's Web site at http://www.jocarroll.com/.
For more information, contact: Charlie DeLoach, 800-858-5522 ext 210, or Justin LaBerge, 785-766-5688 (cell)
CONTACT: Charlie DeLoach, +1-800-858-5522, ext. 210, or Justin LaBerge,cell, +1-785-766-5688, both for Jo-Carroll Energy
Web site: http://www.jocarroll.com/