FORD RIDGE WIND PROJECT PROFILE
Apex Clean Energy recently acquired the rights to Ford Ridge Wind (also known as Ford County Wind), and we will be actively meeting with landowners, community leaders, and the public to share information about Ford Ridge over the next several months. We are excited to be a part of your community.
Many of the details about the proposed Ford Ridge project are yet to be determined, even though the project did seek a siting permit in the past. For example, it's far too early to tell which turbines we will use, how many there will be, or where these turbines will be located. However, as we continue to develop this project, more of these details will be determined, and we will share project updates with you here on this site.
- Planned to be located on approximately 15,000 acres of open farmland in rural western Ford County
- Capable of producing up to 125 MW of clean, homegrown energy, enough to power over 38,000 homes each year
- Expected to consist of 44 to 58 wind turbines, spaced approximately 1/4 to 1/2 mile apart on active farmland
- Each wind turbine, including the access road, typically takes less than half an acre of land out of production
- Existing high-voltage power lines and highways will limit the need for new infrastructure
- Farmers will continue farming their land with very limited disturbance
- Will represent a significant investment in local economy, with revenues for farmers, local government, and schools
- Will create about 200 full-time-equivalent jobs during construction
- Will create up to 10 permanent jobs at a local operations-and-maintenance facility
WHY FORD COUNTY?
If built, Ford Ridge will have a capacity of up to 125 MW, producing enough energy to power more than 38,000 homes every year. Representing a private investment well in excess of $200 million, Ford Ridge will benefit the economy of Ford County in the near term with construction jobs and local purchasing of materials and services. In the long term, the project promises to bring sustained tax revenue to the county for the local government and schools, as well as 25 years of local purchasing, employment, and investment.
Rural western Ford County was selected by Apex Clean Energy after a thorough examination of many candidate sites within Illinois for the following reasons:
- Verified wind resource
- Existing high-voltage power lines
- Expansive commercial farmland
- Existing network of state highways
- Avoids sensitive military and environmental areas
- Strong local landowner and community support
- County has previous experience in siting and approving wind farm development
Farmers who host turbines on their property and other participating landowners will also receive annual lease payments. These payments will continue over the projected 25-year lifespan of the wind farm, injecting millions of dollars into Ford County’s economy to support local merchants, contractors, and equipment suppliers.
WIND ENERGY FOR RURAL AMERICA
The cost of wind energy has dropped more than 50% over the past five years, providing a cost-competitive source for clean electricity across the nation. Wind powers the equivalent of 18 million American homes each year.* Wind energy comes with many benefits, including reduced pollution, increased domestic employment, consumer cost savings, water conservation, nationwide availability, and increased community revenues.** Wind turbines compliment working farms, because they allow for existing agricultural operations to continue around them. They also help farmers by diversifying the rural economy and providing a consistent, drought-resistant new harvest.
There are many steps in the process to completion of Ford Ridge. Although the project has already gathered community input; conducted extensive studies, permitting, and engineering; secured an interconnection agreement; and completed numerous additional tasks needed to move the project forward, there is still a lot of work to do. As the new owners of the project, Apex is taking a step back to refine and refresh the project’s studies and layouts before construction can begin. Apex will be working closely with Ford County on the project planning and permitting of Ford Ridge, offering additional opportunities for the public to provide input into the process.
*AWEA, Wind Energy Facts at a Glance, March 2015
**Department of Energy, Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States, 2015