Friday, December 17, 2010
Welcome To Illinois Eddie O'Connor
Eddie O'Connor of Ireland's own Mainstream Renewable Energy has partnered with the Chinese (it's the Red Chinese Army most likely) to create a new business that will harness the winds sweeping off the Illinois prairie and turn it into electricity.
Tianrun Shady Oaks will soon be powering your home, Mr. Land of Lincoln taxpayer. Isn't it good to know that your electricity is generating income for the Chinese? How's that balance of trade working out for you there?
Sorry, Newton, Iowa, but the Chinese can make turbines cheaper than you and did you really think that all those tax credits for green jobs would stay in the States? Maybe if the folks in Newton were buying Treasury bonds by the billion they might have been able to wield a bit of influence.
Of course, if they'd work for pennies a day like the Chinese laborers do, they might have gotten the work.
The joint venture will see China construct the wind turbines with Mr. O'Connor providing his expertise. He made a fortune with Airtricity in Ireland and he means to do the same with Mainstream. Ameren Illinois will buy up the power from the 120 megawatt farm. So will this wind farm be constructed in Peoria, or does Ameren have someplace further away from corporate headquarters in mind?
You see, there's a wind farm near DeKalb, Illinois that has driven local residents into court to have the thing shut down. The noise is endless and maddening, as is the strobe effect of the blades. Birds have a nasty tendency to fly into the spinning blades, and crop dusting is quite a problem when giant fans are blowing the chemicals away.
Wind power sounds grand on paper, but once the turbines start to rotate in a populated area, all bets are off. Tianrun may have a twenty-year contract to sell electricity, but the unhappy citizens of Southern Illinois (die-hard Republicans in a Democratic-controlled state) will be looking at who might have cut a deal with Springfield and which Chicago politicians have gotten a cut of the action and that wind farm may not be up and running anytime soon.
There are a surprising number of people who will be asking questions about why the Chinese are reaping the rewards of renewable energy tax incentives when there's wind turbine manufacturers just across the Mississippi in Iowa whose employees would contribute to the American economy.
Eddie O'Connor may not be recouping his investment as rapidly as he may have been led to believe by the desperate-for-any-investment Governor Quinn.