Investments by EDF Renewable Energy, Enbridge and Kinder Morgan have, collectively, exceeded $400 million in Kankakee County in recent years. As of June 2020, five 2 MW solar farms (80 acres total) are also under development here, with further investment anticipated.
A cooperative regulatory climate and growth-minded local leadership provide the spark for our power projects.
The Illinois Future Energy Jobs Bill, which took effect in June 2017, enhances the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, a move expected to translate to 1,300 MW of new wind power and up to 3,000 MW of new solar constructed in Illinois by 2030. Carveouts in the RPS mean that more than half the new solar must come from distributed (mostly rooftop) installations, community solar and solar farms built on brownfields.
According to the Illinois Environmental Council, “The act will bring diversity to the clean energy economy, removing barriers that have kept large segments of low-income and minority communities from receiving benefits produced by energy efficiency and clean energy development. The act creates the Illinois Solar for All program, a comprehensive solar deployment and job training program. The legislation also creates the state’s first Community Solar program to promote locally-funded solar projects.”
Kankakee County is poised to do its part to move Illinois to 25 percent clean energy by 2030.
Kankakee County offers industry-leading workforce development programs to support the energy sector. Kankakee Community College’s award-winning and nationally certified electrical technology program prepares students for real-world jobs in the emerging solar, wind and geothermal industries. The program has begun to build a pipeline of qualified workers for EDF Renewable Energy‘s Pilot Hill and Kelly Creek wind farms.
In July 2014, KCC announced a grant from the State of Illinois to construct an Advanced Technological Education Center. Opened in 2019, the facility contains classrooms, labs, offices and support spaces to provide hands-on technical training in fields such as wind generation, solar thermal, solar photo-voltaic systems and electrical (National Electric Code NEC) instruction. It is designed to meet or exceed requirements for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold certification.