WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Cardinal Point Wind Farm Ready to Fly

Feb 21, 2020

Electricity from Capital Power's wind farm in western Illinois should be on the grid by this time next month. Project Manager Matt Martin said the Cardinal Point Wind Farm will be completed a couple weeks ahead of schedule, thanks in part to a relatively mild winter.

“Generally speaking, lifting large pieces of equipment into the sky in the winter time is not an easy task. So some of the calm (conditions) we experienced here over the last month-and-a-half have really helped get the project up and running on schedule,” Martin said.

He said the project will end up costing around $240 million, which he said is about what was budgeted. He said around 270 workers were on site during the peak of construction. More than 100 remain. 

Once construction is complete, Cardinal Point will employ nine full-timers, most of whom will be wind turbine technicians doing operations and maintenance work.

Cardinal Point has 46 turbines in McDonough County and 14 in Warren County. There are no plans to expand the operation. 

Martin said the wind farm will sell energy to Ameren for customers in Macomb, but Cardinal Point won’t just generate power -- it will also generate an estimated $2 million in property tax revenue in the first year. The West Prairie School District will be the biggest beneficiary.

Martin said the Capital Power hopes to install a radar system that will monitor the night sky for aircraft. If none are present, the red lights you typically see at a wind farm at night will turn off.

“We made a commitment to not just our landowners but the folks in the area … that we would apply to install this,” Martin said.

He said such a system is used at a wind farm Capital Power owns in North Dakota. The company has applied to the FAA for approval to use the system at Cardinal Point. If approved, the system will be installed this summer.