EDF RE launches 175 MW wind project with support from Microsoft

EDF Renewable Energy (EDF RE) and Microsoft have announced the launch of a Pilot Hill Wind Project consisting of GE 1.7 MW wind turbines.

The175 megawatt (MW) wind project is located 60 miles southwest of Chicago in Kankakee and Iroquois counties. It is expected to begin commercial operation early in 2015.

EDF RE has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Microsoft. The PPA played a key role in advancing the Project by providing the long-term revenue certainty needed to get Pilot Hill off of the ground and into construction, EDF RE officials said.

“We are thrilled to see it become a reality. In addition to generating job growth and tax revenue, Pilot Hill further establishes Kankakee County as a renewable energy leader and a green technology hub. Our doors are wide open for green business.”

“We’re not only breaking ground on an exciting, new wind energy facility, we’re leading the way to a clean energy economy,” said U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly at the launch. “I applaud Microsoft and EDF Renewable Energy for investing in clean energy and standing on the forefront of positive change and social responsibility.”

The PPA played a key role in advancing the Project by providing the long-term revenue certainty needed to get Pilot Hill off of the ground and into construction.

“The Pilot Hill Wind Project is important to Microsoft because it helps solidify our commitment to taking significant action to shape our energy future by developing clean, low-cost sources to meet our energy needs,” said Paul Scanlan, senior program manager for Energy Strategy.

“Microsoft is focused on transforming the energy supply chain for cloud services, from the power plant to the computer chip. Long-term commitments like Pilot Hill help ensure a cleaner grid to supply energy to our datacenters.”

Tristan Grimbert, president and CEO of EDF Renewable Energy, added that companies now realize that setting renewable energy, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments can deliver attractive cost-savings benefits while locking in long-term energy price stability.

We are grateful for the sustained efforts of Vision Energy and Orion Energy who shepherded this project through the origination and development phases, and to the landowners who have patiently waited for this day to come.

Pilot Hill will also trigger significant economic development through the creation of approximately 150 local craft labor positions during peak construction as well as long-term operations and maintenance opportunities.

Mortenson Construction’s Wind Energy Group has started onsite construction activities including construction of all access roads and public road improvements; foundations; turbine erection; operations and maintenance building; collection system; substation; T-line and the installation of MET towers.