FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10/8/2010
Marcelyn Love 217/558.1542  
Mike Claffey 312/814.3957

 Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Awards Nearly $2 Million in Grants to Southern Illinois Power Cooperative

Energy Efficiency Upgrades at Marion Power Plant Will Increase Savings for Customers and Create Jobs

MARION � Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley visited Marion today to announce nearly $2 million in grants funds to assist the Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC) in retrofitting its Lake of Egypt Power Plant Unit 4. The project will provide savings for utility customers, reduce emissions at the facility, and create jobs.

"Governor Quinn's commitment is to better utilize all of the energy resources at Illinois' disposal, to wean us off of imported oil," said Director Ribley. "This project is exciting because it allows coal to be used more efficiently, which helps the environment and saves customers money."

SIPC will receive a Coal Demonstration Grant award for $1.5 million, and a $455,000 Electric Energy Efficiency Grant.  The energy efficiency portion of the award comes from the State Energy Plan provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The project will replace motors for forced draft and booster fans with the latest generation of Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) to increase reliability and efficiency.  The Lake of Egypt Power Plant Unit 4 is a 173 megawatt (MW) rated coal fired cyclone boiler built in 1978.  Once the VFDs have been installed, the plant will realize an estimated power savings of 26.68 gigawatt hour (GWh) a year in internal electrical power consumption, as well as a reduction in CO2 emissions of 34,200 metric tons per year. 

The increase in efficiency means less coal will be required to produce the same amount of electricity, in addition to a substantial reduction of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.  The VFDs will allow the fan motors to operate at a lower power level resulting in a reduced cost to produce electricity.  This reduction in operational costs will allow SIPC to lower the electricity costs for their customers. 
With approximately 90,000 end use customers, this project could save each customer on average between $8.89 -$14.82 a year. The project is also expected to create 10 new jobs as well as retain 124 employees.

"On behalf of SIPC, I wish to thank Governor Quinn and DCEO for the generous grant to assist in installing state-of-the art controls at our Marion Generation Plant (Unit #4).  I also wish to thank our local State Legislators: Senator Forby, and Representatives Reitz, Phelps, and Bradley, for their support in making this project become a reality," said SIPC President W. Scott Ramsey.  "Clearly, this is an excellent example of how private industry and government can work together to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions, and provide job improvement in southern Illinois.  SIPC prides itself on continuing to provide reasonably priced wholesale power from one of the cleanest-burning plants in Illinois and the new project will make that even more so." 

DCEO is the state agency charged with job creation and economic development, as well as the growth of Illinois' green economy.

The Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC) is a not-for-profit generation and transmission cooperative with a generation capacity of 418 mega-watt between six turbines.  SIPC is fundamental part of the economy of Southern Illinois, both in the jobs it provides and the affordable electrical power for residential, commercial, and industrial customers.  SIPC is committed to providing affordable, safe, and reliable power to its customers in Southern Illinois.