DeWitt County wind farm that helps power Meta goes online
A wind farm that helps power a data center for Facebook parent Meta has gone online in DeWitt County.
Brayten McGee is a project manager at Boston-based Enel, the company that operates the Alta Farms 200-megawatt, 50-turbine wind farm west of Wapella and Clinton.
McGee said the company projects $94 million in local tax revenue and landowner income over the life of the project, which is expected to be 20-25 years.
“That tax revenue can provide a critical, stable income source for taxing bodies like school districts, libraries and that’s the economic benefit of wind,” McGee said.
A majority of the power Alta generates (125 megawatts) will go to the DeKalb Data Center. The rest was sold to the Indiana Municipal Power Agency.
Enel also runs two wind farms in Logan County, and McGee said the company plans to build more wind farms in central Illinois.
“We think it’s a great state for renewable energy development and there’s certainly a lot of wind and sun there,” McGee said.
The Alta wind farm is a $345 million project, which the company first announced in 2021. Enel took DeWitt County to court after the county initially refused to issue building permits.
The project was announced shortly before Illinois lawmakers passed the Climate the Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). The company did not receive incentives for the project.
Meta announced in April 2022 it was expanding its data center in DeKalb as part of a $1 billion project that doubles its square footage and adds three buildings to its so-called cloud campus.
Enel also has a history with Meta. The company agreed to 2018 to sell energy from a wind farm in Nebraska to Facebook and Adobe.
Meta has 17 U.S. data centers built or under construction, according to its website.