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District 300 to dissolve wind farm consortium

CARPENTERSVILLE – A wind energy consortium that includes School District 300 is set to officially dissolve next week.

The District 300 school board is expected to terminate the School Wind Consortium Joint Action Renewable Energy Agency at its regular meeting Monday night.

But the district and two others in the consortium – Prospect Heights District 23 and Keeneyville District 20 – will continue their collaboration to save on electricity costs under a new intergovernmental agreement. That agreement has yet to be officially approved by all three school boards.

At last month’s consortium meeting, the three districts approved an eight-year contract to jointly buy electricity from Constellation Energy. The contract is expected to save District 300 $300,000 a year in energy costs beginning in December, district Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Crates said.

The intergovernmental agreement is “a little different than what we started off with,” Crates said, but, “In this case, we actually did save money. We’re just not going green.”

Just over a year ago, the consortium endeavored to own and operate a wind turbine farm in Stark County. The idea was to jointly run the farm to generate green energy and send the power to the school districts.

The state’s School District Intergovernmental Cooperation Renewable Energy Act, approved in 2009 and in effect since summer 2010, allowed school districts to establish a consortium to pursue wind energy technology to reduce electricity costs. School districts could acquire and build facilities to convert wind or solar power into energy.

“We would have loved to save and go green and find a long-term solution to paying for electricity, but that didn’t work out,” Crates said.