Kankakee wind farm almost ready to go; and power station to be sold to ComEd

The spinning windmills grab the attention, but it’s the transfer station that gets power to the supplier.

The 103-windmill farm south of Kankakee is nearly complete and could begin creating electricity by mid summer, but the power station just west of South Kensington Avenue still is a work in progress.

John Baker, site supervisor for EDF Renewable Energy, the owner of the Pilot Hill Wind Farm, said 13 miles of overhead electrical lines will be run to the Kensington station. Once the generated power is delivered there, it will get placed into the ComEd electric network.

The windmills, known in the industry as turbines, are up, but workers still are connecting the lines.

The 3-acre, multi-million dollar power station location near Kensington at 2000S Road in Kankakee will eventually be sold to ComEd. That transaction would take place sometime shortly after the turbines go live, but there is no exact timeline as to when that would happen, Baker said.

While the transfer station will become ComEd’s, the turbines and power lines will remain EDF’s property.

Pilot Hill is “one of dozens” of wind farms owned and operated by San Diego, Calif.-based EDF, Baker noted.

Many of the metal poles for the power lines are up, but work still is progressing on those as well, he said.

While this wind farm has been discussed for five years, actual construction didn’t begin until almost a year ago when EDF bought the development from Cincinnati, Ohio-based Vision Energy.

“It’s amazing once it starts how quickly it can move,” Baker said. “This is going to generate a lot of electricity.”

The wind farm, located across 14,700 acres of farmland in Kankakee and Iroquois counties, will ultimately provide power for Microsoft in Chicago. The computer company has a 20-year power purchase contract with EDF.