PEOPLE-Local 645

  • Quality of Life Alliance

Turnaround’s Fair Play

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on January 29, 2011

Scott Walker thought he was being clever when he tried to make a statement welcoming the companies fleeing Illinois because the state had just raised their taxes.

So far, the only company that I’ve heard of even thinking about leaving Illinois is Jimmy John’s and they would be looking towards moving to Florida (where, by the way, they got some of our money and jobs withtheir high speed rail).

As it turns out, Illinois leaders weren’t hesitant to turn the tables (or should I say, the windmills?) on Walker:

Today the Illinois Wind Energy Association (IWEA) invited wind power developers working in Wisconsin to focus their efforts on Illinois, where Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly have worked to streamline regulations for the wind energy business.

Wind developers have been apprehensive about investing in Wisconsin since Governor Scott Walker proposed legislation that would effectively ban wind development from the Badger State. With these new job-destroying regulations on the table, IWEA is happy to highlight the much more business-friendly climate just to the south.

In fact, it looks like Walker’s anti-business agenda could turn into a real windfall for Illinois.  Not only would they gain the wind power related companies to their state, but then they can turn around and sell the electricity they produce to Wisconsin utilities that still have to meet guidelines on having so much of their power come from renewable sources, and their not afraid to point that out:

Developers in Illinois placed 498 MW of wind generating capacity in service in 2010, and almost 400 MW more should come on line in the next three to six months, In contrast, Wisconsin added only 20 MW of wind generation last year.

“Illinois’ favorable regulatory climate for wind power will create over three-billion dollars in economic activity in the coming decades,” Borgia said.

According to a recent study by Illinois State University, the first 1,848 megawatts of wind capacity in Illinois:

  • Support local economies by generating $18 million in annual property taxes

  • Generate $8.3 million annually in extra income for Illinois landowners who lease their land to wind farm developers

  • Created approximately 9,968 full-time equivalent jobs during construction periods with a total payroll of over $509 million

  • Support approximately 494 permanent jobs in rural Illinois areas with a total annual payroll of over $25 million

The proposed wind ban is also helpful to Illinois wind farms because electric utilities in Wisconsin are more likely to meet their renewable energy needs using Illinois resources if wind energy is prohibited in the state.

IWEA urges Wisconsin utilities to reach out to Illinois wind projects to achieve their renewable energy goals, Borgia said.

At the rate Walker’s going, he won’t need to create 250,000 jobs because there won’t be that many people left in the state.

 

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