Construction Begins On Illinois Wind Farm With Corporate PPA Duo

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A wind project that will sell its energy to both Bloomberg LP and General Motors (GM) has begun construction in Logan County, Ill.

The 185 MW HillTopper Wind facility was developed by Swift Current Energy. Enel Green Power North America Inc. (EGPNA), which recently purchased the wind farm from Swift Current Energy, will manage construction and serve as the long-term owner and operator. The facility represents Enel’s first wind farm in the state of Illinois.

Once fully operational, HillTopper will be able to generate around 570 GWh annually. The project, which is expected to begin operations by the end of the year, will sell 117 MW of its energy under two separate power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Bloomberg and GM.

The PPA with Bloomberg will help the company reach its 100% renewable energy goal by 2025, and the PPA with GM will provide 100% renewable electricity to all of the company’s Ohio and Indiana manufacturing facilities.

“Our agreement with HillTopper is part of our strategy to generate or source all electrical power for our global operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050,” notes Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy at GM. “When the turbines come online later this year, we will be 20 percent of the way to our goal.”

According to Swift Current, HillTopper will provide significant economic benefits to the surrounding communities in Logan County. The construction and operations of the project will require an investment of approximately $325 million and will create approximately 300 construction jobs and eight to 10 permanent jobs.

Since late 2016, Swift Current has worked to redevelop the HillTopper project, including adding new project participants; redesigning and re-permitting the project; contracting the energy on a long-term basis; and raising financing for the construction and operations.

“The achievement of the start of construction of HillTopper is a credit to the support and dedication of county residents, public officials and participating landowners and is a tangible demonstration of their commitment to the success of the project,” states Matt Birchby, a principal and managing director of Swift Current Energy. “We are grateful for the support the project has received and look forward to continuing to work with Logan County and the region into the future.”

With the PPAs for HillTopper, EGPNA says its total corporate off-taker portfolio in the U.S. is now more than 1.2 GW of capacity.

“The start of construction of HillTopper is a new milestone for our growth in the U.S. renewable market, and the PPAs with Bloomberg LP and General Motors are testament to the appeal of our customized renewable energy solutions to large corporate customers,” adds Antonio Cammisecra, head of EGPNA. “Through these agreements, our customers gain access to affordable clean energy that supports their renewable goals while also meeting their business objectives, and in return, Enel is able to maintain long-term revenue certainty.”

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