The projects may be in the works already and the company “is interested in investments that involve utility-scale wind projects.”
According to the corporate web page, “JDC enters into agreements with local developers and landowners to “facilitate the development and operation of wind energy projects. It is important that these projects are economically viable for all parties.”
The company wants to invest in high potential wind energy projects, so it is said to be a win-win for everyone involved.
DeKalb County Farm Bureau Manager Doug Dashner said he was unaware of any local participation in the Deere program.
However, Tim Price, of DeKalb, farms land near Bloomington and said Horizon Wind Energy plans to break ground in the spring for what he called “the largest land-based wind farm in the world.”
More than 230 windmills, each more than 300 feet tall, are planned, and Price said two will be on his property. The company pays farmers for the use of part of their land and taxes raised will benefit the school district. The company is now waiting for a commitment for energy purchase from Commonwealth Edison.
DeKalb County had once considered a wind energy project planned by Florida Power and Light, but after months of negotiation, conflict and compromise, an offer to buy the energy fell through.
The John Deere wind energy project specifically is interested in projects with “multiple wind turbines with a capacity of 1.25 megawatts or greater.” Required is the ability to get attractive power purchase agreements from national utility companies…or rural electric cooperatives and even private companies.”
John Deere is anxious to tell “what it is not:”
• It can’t work with cities or schools “for reasons of tax eligibility” and other legal issues.
• It isn’t a source of financing small-scale wind projects designed to provide energy for a farm, a ranch or a household. However, JDC officials acknowledge, “The small scale wind energy market may grow more attractive over time.”
• John Deere has no plans to manufacture or service wind turbines at this time, even though the international demand exceeds the supply at this time.
• It is not interested in large wind farms, but rather in smaller, rural wind energy projects “that it can aggregate into larger geographically-distributed groups that meet the need of energy utilities.”
• It cannot, at this time, partner with municipalities, colleges, universities and not-for-profit organizations. It only can work with private individuals and development companies.
However, John Deere officials also say, “Qualified farmers who are investing in wind energy may consider John Deere Credit for financing, project development and other services.”
Deere has investments in wind energy projects in Texas and Minnesota. It is looking at other U.S. locations and locations outside the country. Such projects should be capable of producing 50 megawatts of electricity, they say.
What’s in it for them?
“Investments in wind energy benefit rural economies where John Deere customers live,” they say. “It helps rural America capitalize on its investment in real estate while helping our environment at the same time.” It also promises good returns for John Deere.