Growing Wind Power Sector Creates Illinois Jobs

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"Illinois is currently home to 25 wind farms generating more than 1,800 megawatts of power each year."

Illinois is home to more than 100 companies employing 15,000 people in the wind power business and is fast becoming a hub for the nation's wind power. According to a new study by the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago, for every megawatt of wind energy developed in the state, 17 manufacturing jobs are created.

At least 13 global or U.S. headquarters of major wind power companies are in Chicago, a number that the center said may be more than another other city in the country. As a result, the city of Chicago, the report found, benefits from the demand for legal, financial and other corporate services from those companies.

High paying jobs are created both at construction and during the life of the wind farm. A wind turbine has as many as 8,000 components, which can be categorized into four main parts: towers, blades, rotor and nacelle. Towers and blades, the largest two parts that make up about 75% of the turbines' weight, are typically manufactured domestically.

According to the report, Illinois is currently home to 25 wind farms generating more than 1,800 megawatts of power each year.

When it comes to using the power it produces, Illinois electric utilities are only required to purchase a small, but increasing, percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources. By 2025, that number is expected to reach 25%, and by state mandate, 75% of that renewable energy must come from wind power.

“We have to keep getting the policies right. We have to take the Illinois renewable electricity standard and make sure it works and works well,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

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