Coles County, IL — Alongside community members, project customers and partners, National Grid Renewables hosted a community celebration and Stuff-the-Bus event on July 13, 2022 at the Prairie Wolf Solar Project (Prairie Wolf) in Coles County, Illinois. The event celebrated the 200 megawatt (MW) project and the social and economic benefits it provides the local community and school district.
As part of the celebration and Stuff-the-Bus event, a school bus was brought to the project site, and donations were collected and placed inside the bus to support the local Kansas School District. Items collected and donated by project partners, customers and community members included backpacks, sports equipment, calculators, writing utensils, classroom supplies and more.
The Stuff-the-Bus event highlights the purpose of the Prairie Wolf Education Fund, which is funded by National Grid Renewables and is estimated to contribute $720,000 over the next 20 years to the local Kansas School District. The Prairie Wolf Education Fund is just one example of how National Grid Renewables prioritizes charitable giving and often implements charitable funds for the projects it owns and operates to benefit local community members.
"We are so fortunate to have a progressive company such as National Grid Renewables in our area," stated Cindy Spencer, Kansas School District Superintendent. "This is an adventure with solar panels that will acclimate our students to the future of electricity. National Grid Renewables and their staff have been supportive and generous throughout this entire project."
"The Prairie Wolf Solar Project demonstrates National Grid Renewables' commitment to invest in the American economy, give back to local communities, and help build a more sustainable, clean energy future," stated Blake Nixon, President of National Grid Renewables. "Thank you to the residents of Coles County for welcoming us into your community."
Prairie Wolf announced commercial operation in December 2021 and is estimated to avoid 285,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually*. Prairie Wolf employed 250 workers during peak construction and now employs 5 onsite operations and maintenance staff members. The project is estimated to contribute $16 million in tax revenue over the first 20 years of operation. Prairie Wolf has a Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) with Cargill, marking the second renewable energy VPPA contracted between Cargill and National Grid Renewables, the first being for a portion of the Crocker Wind Farm in Clark County, South Dakota.
"Cargill is committed to mitigating the pressing issue of climate change and its impacts on our global food system. One of the ways we are doing this is by financially participating in renewable energy sources, such as the Prairie Wolf Solar Project," stated Eric Hoegger, Director, Global Renewable Energy for Cargill. "Not only will the Prairie Wolf Solar Project play a vital role in helping us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while contributing to the renewable economy, but we are also honored to contribute to the positive impact it will have on the Coles County community and surrounding counties where Cargill operates multiple plant locations."
Prairie Wolf utilizes next-generation Series 6 thin film solar modules developed and produced by First Solar, Inc. SOLV Energy, formerly known as Swinerton Renewable Energy, constructed Prairie Wolf, and NovaSource Power Services provides operations and maintenance services for the project.
*Calculated using the United States Environmental Protection Agency's greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator.