RWE begins construction on first utility-scale solar project in Illinois

RWE Casey Fork solar site Illinois
Site of RWE’s Casey Fork Solar project in Illinois.

RWE is building its first utility-scale solar project in Illinois to help the state meet its growing demand for clean power. The 150 MWac Casey Fork Solar project is part of RWE’s continuing U.S. expansion, with plans to grow its renewables portfolio from more than 9 GW net installed capacity today to more than 19 GW by 2030.

Casey Fork Solar will deliver new local economic activity, jobs and tax revenue, while supporting Illinois’ clean energy ambitions. To help achieve the carbon-reduction goals established by Illinois’ landmark Climate and Equitable Jobs Act of 2021, three of the state’s electric utility companies Ameren, ComEd and MidAmerican Energy have contracted to purchase renewable energy credits from RWE’s Casey Fork Solar farm.

Onsite construction is now underway at the new solar farm located in Jefferson County, Illinois. Once operational, the facility will grow RWE’s renewables capacity in Illinois to more than 750 MW. Casey Fork Solar adds to the company’s three operating wind farms that deliver a combined 605 MW of clean power to the state.

“Across the U.S., communities are realizing the benefits of new clean energy infrastructure, which create job opportunities, support economic growth and strengthen the local tax base,” said Hanson Wood, head of development, utility-scale renewables for RWE Clean Energy. “We look forward to bringing these benefits and more to local communities throughout the country, like Jefferson County where RWE’s Casey Fork Solar project will spur hundreds of local jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic output.”

Powering communities, fueling growth

RWE is committed to supporting the communities in which it constructs, owns and operates its facilities. Jefferson County is a growing hub for manufacturing and energy infrastructure. Casey Fork Solar will bring new economic, education and environmental benefits to the area, including approximately $22 million in property taxes in total for all taxing districts over the life of the project. This includes more than $13 million in total school district revenue over the project’s lifetime.

“The Casey Fork Solar project is the first utility-scale renewable energy generation project in Jefferson County, and further enhances our ability to attract sustainability-oriented businesses to the region,” said Tony Iriti, executive director of Jefferson County Development Corporation.

During construction, RWE’s Casey Fork Solar is expected to create more than 200 construction jobs in Jefferson County and estimated to generate more than $36 million in economic activity. RWE has enlisted McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. to construct the Casey Fork project.

Additionally, as part of RWE’s proactive procurement strategy, the company has preemptively secured high voltage equipment such as main power transformers and high voltage breakers to help ensure the timely construction of projects such as Casey Fork.

In addition to bringing new economic and job opportunities to the area, RWE is working to support local education and arts programs and is donating thousands of dollars to the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts.

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