NORMAL – Rivian Automotive is planning to add a wind turbine to its manufacturing plant in west Normal.
The electric vehicle company announced Friday plans to install a large-scale wind turbine “intended to provide clean energy to enable new R1 vehicles to be powered by renewables for their first charge.”
Initial plans for the turbine include installation in the north loop of the plant’s test track, located on the eastern side of the Rivian campus, 100 Rivian Motorway.
Rivian will host a public forum and open house from 5 to 7 p.m. June 29 at Heartland Community Center’s Astroth Center.
The Normal Planning Commission will consider the proposal at its meeting July 7; the commission’s report on the proposal will be published by June 30.
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If the planning commission has a recommendation at the end of that meeting, the plan will go before the Normal Town Council on July 18, Town Planner Mercy Davison said.
Rivian leaders said the wind turbine project would support the company’s long-term vision for renewable energy and reducing its carbon footprint.
“To us, our job isn’t done when our vehicles come off the line,” said Andrew Peterman, director of renewable energy for Rivian. “While we’re working hard to help electrify transportation, we’re also pushing to accelerate the shift to carbon-free electricity for all. This wind turbine is an early step on that path, and it’s also a beacon of our vision for a clean energy future.”
For the project, Rivian is partnering with Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy, the renewable energy company that’s slated to install a 300-megawatt wind farm in southern McLean County.
Rivian’s turbine would stand less than 510 feet tall – in accordance with Normal zoning code – with white, non-reflective blades. It is designed for a capacity of at least 2.8 megawatts, capable of generating nearly 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, or enough electricity to power 890 average U.S. homes, according to a Rivian statement.
If approved, the turbine would join a 783-kilowatt solar canopy installed at the plant in Normal earlier this year, scheduled to begin generating electricity this summer.
Rivian said it commissioned studies on potential sound and shadow effects of the wind turbine as well as the impact on wildlife, cultural resources and communication systems. Sound is estimated to average 35 decibels and reach a maximum of 42 decibels, similar to a refrigerator’s noise, the company said.
This announcement comes two months after the Normal Town Council approved an ordinance codifying its wind energy zoning code.
The code permits large-scale turbines with a maximum height of 510 feet as a special use in a general manufacturing district, the zoning classification under which Rivian falls.
Davison said Rivian’s detailed proposal aligns with town code.
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