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District 300 scraps plans for wind farm

CARPENTERSVILLE – Over its three-year existence, a school wind energy agency that included School District 300 researched the concept of building a wind farm and paying it off with the electricity produced by wind turbines.

“The idea was to go green and save money,” said Cheryl Crates, chief financial officer for District 300.

The School Wind Consortium Joint Action Renewable Energy Agency originally looked at buying land in southwestern Illinois and building the wind farm. Then it considered leasing wind turbines from existing wind farms.

Crates said the agency would sell the wind-generated electricity in southwestern Illinois, then buy it up here.

“But we realized we weren’t going to save any money with the agency,” Crates said.

“We could have done it for break even, but that wasn’t one of our goals,” Crates said.

Plus, federal grants to help finance wind farms dried up last year, she said.

Instead, District 300 and its agency partners, Prospect Heights District 23 and Keeneyville District 20, jointly bid on an eight-year contract with Constellation Energy, their electric supplier.

District 300 expects to save $300,000 a year in electric costs over the life of the pact.

“The way it ended up, we just jointly bid,” Crates said.

“It was an interesting experience,” Crates said. “But all we’re really doing is jointly purchasing. All we need is an intergovernmental agreement. We don’t need a school wind consortium.”

A discussion on dissolving the wind agency will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the District 300 Administration Building, Conference Room 1, 300 Cleveland Ave., Carpentersville.