Microsoft wind farm breaks ground in Kankakee

A new wind farm that will supply power to Microsoft Corp. for the next 20 years broke ground Wednesday in Kankakee before a crowd of more than 100.

The 175-megawatt Pilot Hill Wind Project is being constructed 60 miles outside Chicago along the border of Kankakee and Iroquois counties. The farm joins a recent trend by corporations looking to supply their power needs with renewable energy.

The wind farm is 96 percent owned by EDF Renewable Energy , a U.S. subsidiary of French utility Electricite de France , and will supply power to the same electric grid that powers Microsoft’s Chicago -area data center. It is expected to begin operating in 2015. The project is expected to supply enough electricity to power 70,000 homes in Illinois .

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