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Carmi Kiwanis Club Learns About Invenergy at Thursday’s Meeting

The Carmi Kiwanis Club met January 16. President Eric Rahlfs introduced and welcomed new members, Mary Lee Saunders and Anna Baumgart.

Caitlin Keepes introduced Invenergy, the program for the day. Sarah Carroll of Invenergy made the presentation. She was accompanied by Tiffany Hensley (Development Consultant) and Greg Vander Kamp (Project Senior Manager). Invenergy is America’s leading privately-held developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions. They have successfully developed more than 150 projects, totaling over 24,000 megawatts, including wind, solar, natural gas power generation and advanced energy storage projects.

Invenergy has been working in White County since 2017 to develop a solar power generation facility. The proposed White County Solar Energy Center would be a 250 megawatt power facility producing enough electricity to power 50,000 homes. Solar technology uses the power of the sun to deliver clean, renewable energy and is now one of the lowest-cost energy sources available.

The proposed sight for the White County Solar Energy Center includes 1,500-2,000 acres of contiguous land in the Burnt Prairie Township between I-64 and Carmi. The 25 year, $106 million project would generate $25 million ($1 million per year for 25 years) in tax revenue to support local education, emergency and veteran services while practicing environmental stewardship.

The project is still in the developmental stage. Pending approval from all necessary agencies, institutions, and landowners, construction would begin in 2021. The construction phase of the project would take 12-14 months and create 700 jobs during the peak period. At the end of the construction, 1-2 full-time operations and maintenance jobs would be created once the plant is operational. The targeted operation timeline is in 2022.

A question and answer session revealed the project is strictly a solar energy project and not wind energy. They chose White County because of the need for electricity in southern Illinois, the availability of transmission lines, and the amount of land not in flood zones. They currently have over 1,500 acres under lease. It would be the largest solar farm in the state of Illinois. At the end of the 25 year lease, the panels would be removed and recycled, and the land would be restored.

Sarah Carroll thanked the club for inviting them. They want to meet the community and are available to make presentations. For more information call (312) 224-1400.