Illinois wind farms will bring more than 6 billion dollars to the state economy over their lifespan. That’s according to a new study by Illinois State University. Researchers factored in property taxes, jobs, and payment to land owners. David Loomis, Director of the Center for Renewable Energy, says jobs are particularly affected.
"During the construction phase, there's a lot of activity and people get employed. There are about 2,500 jobs that are supported during that construction phase. And about 226 long term jobs coming during operational phase," he says.
This is despite the fact Illinois isn't actually that windy.
"I think Illinois ranks 17th in terms of wind potential, if you just look at wind speeds around the state," Loomis said.
He says Illinois has good transmission capacity, and many wind farms are close to the power-hungry Chicago area. Several environmental groups are pushing the state to approve policies boosting wind power investment.