Well paid and decent jobs are helping sustain Central Illinois’ economy, a new report concludes. Illinois continued its trajectory as a growing national leader in new investment from the wind energy sector, according to a new U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Reportfrom the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
The report shows Illinois businesses, consumers, farmers, and local communities are benefiting from advancements in wind energy. Across the country, wind is creating jobs as the top choice for new power and Illinois is a national leader, adding $1 billion in new investment in 2019, thousands of new jobs, and millions in tax revenue and land lease payments, providing a boost to communities and farmers.
Nationally, wind power is driving growth as both the fastest growing energy source and cheapest source of new electrical generation in many states, and the local economy is responding. Power Up Illinois, a statewide coalition of pro-growth voices supporting winds role as an essential private stimulus for Illinois, reacted to the report by citing the economic benefits wind is providing.
Wind does more than power Illinois’ communities and businesses. The ripple effects of surging wind investment are providing a needed boost to Illinois’ economy and local governments.
In addition to wind investment in Illinois increasing by $1 billion last year to reach $10.9 billion, wind energy workforce levels grew to 8,000-9,000 jobs supported thanks to the states strong wind supply chain, making Illinois third in the country for wind employment. State and local tax revenue from wind projects grew an incredible 22%, or $9 million, to $49 million annually. And annual land lease payments more than doubled to $37 million, strengthening the bottom line of farmers and rural communities across the state.
Illinois labor leaders reacted to the report:
"State and federal leaders have made enormous progress in fixing Illinois' critical infrastructure. Wind energy projects provide additional private stimulus dollars to aid in these efforts," said Dane Simpson, Director of the Great Plains Laborers Employers Cooperation Education Trust (GP LECET).
"Wind farms generate $49 million in tax revenue every year. And each wind turbine in Illinois equals approximately 20 construction jobs. Those are well-paid jobs with benefits that sustain families and communities. Dollars earned during wind-farm construction return to pay mortgages and sustain grocery stores, car dealers, and strengthen local economies.”
AWEA’s report reveals that Illinois is now generating 5,350 megawatts (MW) of wind energy, becoming the sixth state to surpass 5,000 MW and producing enough energy to power over 1.2 million homes.
Nationally, expanded innovation and development meant wind reached new heights in 2019 as America’s top choice for new power after building 9.1 gigawatts (GW), or 39 percent of new utility-scale power additions. With these additions, operating wind power capacity in the U.S. now stands at over 105 GW, enough to power 32 million American homes.
by Dane Simpson, Great Plains Laborers - Employers Cooperation & Education Trust
Livingston & McLean Counties Bldg & Trades Council