State's Energy Plan Directs Millions for Green Investments in Public and Private Sectors
CHAMPAIGN, IL- Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley today visited EpiWorks, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of specialty semiconductors used in the solar energy industry, to highlight the efforts of Governor Quinn and DCEO to retool the Illinois economy to grow green industry businesses and create thousands of green jobs. More than $6 million in public and private sector investments have been made in the East Central Illinois region through the State Energy Plan.
”The State of Illinois is making targeted investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and green manufacturing that will ultimately create 12,000 green jobs across the state and lower our reliance on foreign oil,” said Director Warren Ribley. “Here in Champaign, EpiWorks will be able to grow its business to meet the demand for solar energy. In addition, we are assisting other businesses and public sector institutions such as schools to be more energy efficient so they can target their savings into expansion or the classroom.”
EpiWorks received a more than $2.5 million Green Business Development Grant through DCEO to expand its photovoltaic (PV) wafer production capacity. The company has established a customer base for its PV wafer technology and expects the need for rapid scaling of its production capacity over the next two years. The project increases the company's production capacity to 120 megawatts (MW) of PV/solar cell wafers annually, with the ability to scale total production capacity to 300 MW annually.
An installed solar energy capacity of 300MW reduces the need for fossil fuel consumption by approximately 12,000 barrels of oil each day. This can save up to 1.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year and help to create 30 high-tech manufacturing jobs at EpiWorks.
“We are proud to have been awarded this grant from DCEO. EpiWorks is continually striving to develop and manufacture distinctive products that benefit our customers and drive the technology roadmap. This effort is particularly satisfying, because it not only allows EpiWorks to expand production capacity for its customers, but also because we have the opportunity to create sustainable, long-term jobs and produce alternative energy solutions for our country,” said Quesnell Hartmann, CEO of EpiWorks.
During his visit, Director Ribley highlighted a number of other projects in East Central Illinois that were targeted for ARRA investments. Viscofan USA, Inc. received nearly $1.5 million in Large Customer Energy Efficiency funding to purchase and replace equipment to reduce the overall plant and steam pressure and reduce natural gas needs by 17% at its facility in Danville, Illinois. Founded in 1975, Viscofan's parent company is the world leader in manufacturing and distribution of cellulose casings for the meat industry with a presence in more than 80 countries. The Danville project will create 45 jobs.
“We at Viscofan work to implement forward-thinking technologies that are environmentally friendly and effectively reduce green house gas emissions – this project achieves both of these environmental objectives,” said Dan Shenck, Danville Plant Manager, Viscofan USA, Inc. “In addition, these funds will benefit Vermilion County by providing increased employment opportunities during these difficult economic times. This project is truly an example of a co-operative with the State that benefits the environment, our community and helps provide our company with the ability to remain competitive in our worldwide market.”
School districts and municipalities from around the region were also present at today’s event, having received grants for wind turbine and geothermal improvements that will improve their bottom lines and save costs, including:
|Champaign School District
Thermal Energy Efficiency Project - replace boilers and ventilators at Bottenfield, Westview, and Robeson Elementary Schools with a total of 481 tons geothermal capacity
|Rantoul School District
Thermal Energy Efficiency Project - Replace approximately 50-year-old mechanical system with 480 tons closed loop geothermal system in elementary schools
|City of Tuscola
Community Renewable – install 100 kW wind turbine at its wastewater treatment facility to provide power for the plant’s aeration system
City of Arcola $62,265 Community Renewable – install 40 kW wind turbine at its wastewater treatment facility to generate approximately 45% of the plant's current energy needs
|City of Arcola
Community Renewable - install 40 kW wind turbine at its wastewater treatment facility to generate approximatly 45% of the plant's current energy needs
|Prairieview-Ogden School District (2 grants)
||Community Renewable – install 100 kW wind turbine at Prairieview-Ogden South Elementary School to generate approximately 500,000 kWh of electricity. Thermal Efficiency- install a single loop geothermal system with 53 tons capacity at the South Elementary School. |
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Illinois received over $130 million to implement the State’s Energy Plan, Illinois' most comprehensive effort to date to address the state’s energy production needs. More than 12,000 green sector jobs are being created over the next two years as a result of the Plan, which is administered by DCEO’s State Energy Office. For more information, visit www.ildceo.net.