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Channahon eyed for wind energy station

CHANNAHON – Wind energy harvested from some blustery western states will be routed through Morris and Channahon substations and converter stations if Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners’ plans go through.

A representative of the firm explained the concept to the Channahon Village Board this week.

The “Rock Island Clean Line” would begin in several wind farms in South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa, which are four of the windiest states in the country, and be carried first to a newly constructed converter station in western Channahon. The firm is eyeing an 85-acre site off Bungalow Road.

The electricity would then run to Collins Station in Morris, which would act as a substation. Construction in Channahon could employ a large number of workers, the trustees were told, and could begin as soon as 2014. The system could be up and running by late 2016.

Trustees were asked to issue a letter of recommendation for the project, but no decision was given on the letter at this week’s meeting.

The entire project would be privately financed, the board was told, using direct current, which is more efficient than transporting alternating current. DC also leaves a much smaller environmental footprint than AC, the representative said, and has better reliability. The farms would produce as much as 3,500 megawatts of energy.

Trustees were optimistic about the number of labor jobs the construction would generate, albeit The M&E tax taxes heavy industrial machinery and equipment as real property. The state’s other 101 counties classify machinery and equipment as personal property, which is not taxed in Illinois.

Also this week, Channahon’s Finance Director Bob Guess told the board that Pace Dial-a-Ride will begin doubling its hours of service to try to meet the needs of more Channahon residents. Too many people are being turned down lately, Guess said, because of the limited hours.

The hours will be increased for the months of May and June in order to see if the change meets the needs of more riders.