Solar, Sourcing Renewables - August 10, 2023
Cook County, Illinois Signs Solar PPA
Cook County in Illinois announced its first power purchase agreement for renewable energy for the municipality’s buildings.
Starting in March 2025, Cook County’s asset portfolio will source approximately 24% of its electricity — or about 49,000 MWh — from a new, offsite solar project in Illinois. Construction of the solar project started in March 2023.
The agreement was reached as part of a broader transaction with Constellation and Swift Current Energy and will span 12 years, with the ability to add in new buildings as energy is reduced.
In the first year of operation, power from the solar project will cover 100% of the electricity used at 18 Cook County owned-and-operated buildings including health clinics, office buildings, highway maintenance facilities, public safety buildings and warehouses. The County will receive energy and renewable energy certificates (RECs) to match the energy use at the 18 sites.
“Any time we can achieve our sustainability goals, while also bringing economic development to our communities, we consider it a huge step forward,” said Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, in a statement. “The co-benefits secured for this agreement mean investment in jobs, training, and domestic manufacturing, and the energy savings and environmental effects are monumental. I am proud that Cook County is a leader for not just sustainability, but in agreements that benefit the community as well."
Backed by Cook County’s commitment, Constellation entered into a separate, long-term power purchase agreement to procure 24 MWh of renewable energy from Swift Current Energy, who will own and operate the solar site, known as Double Black Diamond Solar, located in Morgan and Sangamon Counties. Double Black Diamond Solar, at 593 MW (800 MWdc), is expected to be one of the largest solar projects in the U.S., according to the statement.
Ameresco, the County’s energy procurement consultant, provided advice and support during the selection and negotiation process.
With this agreement, Cook County is meeting several Clean Energy Plan Goals such as helping reduce GHG emissions and achieved a 44% greenhouse gas reduction to date from a 2010 baseline.
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