- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NELSON, Ill. (AP) - Commercial operations are now up and running at a natural gas-fired power generation plant in the northern Illinois community of Nelson.

Engineers with Invenergy last week completed performance testing on the 600-megawatt plant, which is located on land the company purchased nine years ago in Lee County, the Chicago-based company said Monday. The combined-cycle plant that sits on 165 acres uses two gas turbines and two steam turbines.

Invenergy initially planned to use ethanol and natural gas to generate electrical power at the plant, The (Sterling) Daily Gazette (https://bit.ly/1PTxdEg ) reported. But the ethanol portion of the project was scrapped, reducing estimated job creation from 70 positions to about 25 new jobs.

Two dozen full-time workers are now at the plant in Nelson, Invenergy said Monday.

The company was forced to change its plans due to market demand, according to John Thompson, president and CEP of the Lee County Industrial Development Association.

“It started out being twice as big of a project - it was going to have two gas and two steam turbines - but with all of the renewable fuels projects happening, they opted for less generating capacity,” Thompson said.

Although the plant likely won’t be fully assessed until the end of next year, it could still become the biggest taxpayer in Lee County, while also contributing some tax revenue to Whiteside County.

“The assessor has to do a walk-through, and see what’s there now that it’s complete,” Thompson said. “It’s possible they could put a partial (assessment) on it for this year, and if everybody agrees on the valuation, we’ll have a full-year assessment for next year.”

The plant’s tax beneficiaries include Rock Falls High School, East Coloma-Nelson Elementary School, Sauk Valley Community College and numerous entities in Nelson and Harmon townships. About 85 percent of the tax windfall will be allocated to school districts, according to Thompson.


Information from: The Daily Gazette, https://www.saukvalley.com



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