CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Illinois River Energy, LLC in Ogle County has received a $4 million Renewable Fuels Development grant to help build a new $120 million-plus ethanol production facility in Northern Illinois. The new biorefinery will support Governor Blagojevich’s drive for energy independence and will create 40 new permanent jobs for the Northern Stateline region, as well as 120 construction jobs.
The Renewable Fuels Development Program is administered through the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). DCEO Director Jack Lavin joined labor and industry leaders, and members of the academic community today on behalf of the Governor at an event highlighting Illinois’ biofuels industry.
“By investing in ethanol and other renewable fuels, we are increasing our energy independence, creating jobs and helping to secure Illinois’ future,” said Governor Blagojevich. “This new ethanol plant represents the next generation of ethanol production in Illinois – using less energy while producing less carbon emissions – and will be one of the cleanest and most efficient facilities in the country.”
The new facility will be a 50 million gallon per year ethanol production facility, adjacent to the company’s existing 50 million gallon per year ethanol facility. The facility will use approximately 18 million bushels of corn annually. The plant will incorporate the latest energy conservation technologies and efficiencies to reduce emissions, energy consumption and ethanol production costs. Construction is expected to be complete by September 2009.
“IRE is committed to demonstrating the potential of these innovative technologies in our plant by creating a showcase facility, with the very best available operating practices and products, that will allow the industry to benefit from our adoption and learning,” said Rich Ruebe, CEO, Illinois River Energy LLC. “We are very grateful for the support from the Governor and his staff, as well as the AFL-CIO in helping to get our plant built and the Illinois Corn Growers for their continued commitment.”
“Energy independence starts at home with Midwestern crops and Illinois working women and men. The Illinois Labor movement is delighted to be partners with the Illinois Agri-business to loosen the stranglehold of foreign energy supplies in our economy,” said Michael T. Carrigan, president, Illinois AFL-CIO.
“Americans are sending $2 billion a day overseas for imported oil, so programs like Illinois’ Renewable Fuels Development Program represent an investment in our rural economy with immediate returns. We are fortunate to have leaders in Illinois who realize cultivating a domestic ethanol industry makes us less dependent on these foreign energy sources, thus improving our national security,” said Steve Ruh, chairman, Ethanol Committee, National Corn Growers Association and past president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association.
“The American Lung Association of Illinois recognizes that bio-fuels reduce auto emissions and that increased production of E85 will allow more access to a cleaner burning fuel that will help improve air quality,” said Harold Wimmer, CEO of the American Lung Association of Illinois. “By fueling with E85 instead of gasoline, a typical flex-fuel vehicle driver can reduce about four tons of lifecycle carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from entering the atmosphere.”
“Under Governor Blagojevich’s leadership, Illinois continues to be a leader in the production and utilization of clean, home-grown ethanol. This new, high-tech facility is helping to lead the way for cleaner, more efficient ethanol production in the United States, which will benefit our environment and our state economy,” said Jack Lavin, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The Renewable Fuels Development Program was established in June 2003 by Governor Blagojevich under the Renewable Fuels Development Act (Public Act 93-0015). The program is designed to increase the production of ethanol and biodiesel fuels in Illinois and expand the market and demand for Illinois agricultural products.
DCEO also supports ethanol production research through the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) at Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville. These research efforts will result in the commercialization of new technologies to enhance new and innovative technologies to increase production efficiency and reduce production costs. Eventually, through research and development, products manufactured from a bushel of corn will be able to substitute for most of the products currently produced from a barrel of oil.
The Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region. This grassroots effort is a product of significant outreach over several months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials. Opportunity Returns contains tangible actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to business.