By Kayleigh Rahn
The Douglas County Board, during its Wednesday, Feb. 20 meeting, agreed to participate in an electrical aggregation program with Good Energy in hopes of saving on energy costs.
Good Energy will serve as the county’s broker in an attempt to solicit bids and purchase natural gas energy at a competitive rate during a 24-month period, according to the contract.
About 50 municipal and county governments are working with Good Energy–though there won’t be a solid number of total entities involved on hand until after March 5, board chairman Don Munson said during Wednesday’s meeting.
“They are all entities who purchase their natural gas, at this point, from Ameren,” Munson said. “This is an attempt to get a consortium of people who want to go together and try to help lower the costs for those people involved. Right now (the company representative) said, from the information that he was able to get from our gas usage and knowing where they are with other people they are aligned with already in contract, he is pretty assured that we could see at least a 20 percent savings.”
During the public address portion of the meeting, Villa Grove resident and former educator Sherry Ellis spoke in favor of the proposed EDP Harvest Ridge Wind Farm in the northeast corner of Douglas County. Ellis says she believes fear mongering by a vocal minority may cause the area municipalities to miss out on a needed economic boost.
“The wind farm is one of the few opportunities that I’ve seen in the area, other than Tuscola, for an opportunity for a very much needed economic boost,” Ellis said. “Harvest Ridge will contribute over $2 million in taxes in the first year, $50 million in over 30 years.”
Ellis said she spent much of her career in K-12 schools.
“I know what budget can do to help the kids and build resources to help them,” she said. “Industries aren’t coming to our part of the county, and we’ll never progress if we refuse to evolve. We need revitalization and this is the chance of that. We need to make our community something people want to move to because of what’s in it, not because the rent’s cheap.”
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Feb. 27 edition of The Tuscola Journal.