International food conglomerate Cargill signed a virtual power purchase agreement on Geronimo Energy‘s 200-MW Prairie Wolf Solar Project in Coles County, Illinois. This is Cargill’s second VPPA with Geronimo.
“We’re pleased to partner with Geronimo Energy on another renewable energy project that moves Cargill in the right direction, toward our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our operations by 10% by 2025. This new solar power project is the latest example of how we are working with partners to change the way we power our operations, taking advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of renewable power,” said Eric Hoegger, director of global renewable energy for Cargill.
Prairie Wolf, located in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market, is anticipated to begin operations at the end of 2021. Once operational, the solar project is poised to represent the largest single solar investment in Illinois, as well as one of the largest solar developments east of the Mississippi and one of the largest single project VPPAs in the country.
“The Coles County Board is happy to welcome a new enterprise like Prairie Wolf Solar to Coles County,” said Stan Metzger, Coles County Board member and Planning and Development Committee chair. “This project will bring new jobs and add value to the land. New construction projects like this also help ease the burden on local property taxpayers, as well.”
Geronimo has successfully developed over 400 MW of operational renewable energy projects in Illinois, including the Green River and Walnut Ridge Wind Farms in Lee, Bureau, and Whiteside counties.
The Prairie Wolf Education Fund alone will offer approximately $800,000 in donations to the local school districts connected to the project above and beyond all tax revenue and local spending benefits.
“National Grid is delighted for Geronimo to bring this project forward as part of our U.S. renewable energy project portfolio and to continue driving the evolution and decarbonization of America’s electric grid,” said Daniel Westerman, president of Distributed & Renewable Energy for National Grid. “Prairie Wolf is a clear example of how organizations such as Cargill play a critical role in creating a future that is climate-positive.”
“In addition to being climate-positive, Prairie Wolf is also an agriculture-positive project,” said Blake Nixon, CEO for Geronimo. “Renewable energy projects like Prairie Wolf provide much-needed stability and predictability for America’s farming communities. It is fitting that a company like Cargill, an agri-business committed to farmers and the communities they serve, contracts for a project that will benefit the local rural economy and further Geronimo’s own commitment to conduct business in a farmer-friendly manner.”