Geronimo Energy, a National Grid company, and Cargill Announce Virtual Power Purchase Agreement for 200 MW MISO Illinois Solar Project

Prairie Wolf Solar Project poised to be one of the largest solar developments east of the Mississippi and one of the largest single project VPPAs in the country
Apr 22, 2020 10:00 AM ET
Press Release

April 22, 2020 /3BL Media/ - Geronimo Energy (Geronimo), a National Grid company, and Cargill announced today the execution of a Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) for the Prairie Wolf Solar Project (Prairie Wolf) in Coles County, Illinois. The contract marks the second renewable energy VPPA executed between Cargill and Geronimo, the first being for a portion of the Crocker Wind Farm in Clark County, South Dakota.

Prairie Wolf is a 200-megawatt (MW) clean solar energy project located in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market. The project is anticipated to begin operations at the end of 2021. Once operational, Prairie Wolf is poised to represent the largest single solar investment in the State of Illinois, as well as one of the largest solar developments east of the Mississippi and one of the largest single project VPPAs in the country. Using the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator, the project is estimated to offset carbon dioxide emissions by 285,000 metric tons annually.

“We’re pleased to partner with Geronimo Energy on another renewable energy project that moves Cargill in the right direction toward our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our operations by 10% by 2025. This new solar power project is the latest example of how we are working with partners to change the way we power our operations, taking advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of renewable power,” said Eric Hoegger, Director of Global Renewable Energy for Cargill.

Geronimo has successfully developed over 400 MW of operational renewable energy projects in Illinois, including the Green River and Walnut Ridge Wind Farms in Lee, Bureau, and Whiteside counties.
Geronimo’s long and positive history of development in the state of Illinois translates to strong support for Prairie Wolf.

“The Coles County Board is happy to welcome a new enterprise like Prairie Wolf Solar to Coles County,” stated Stan Metzger, Coles County Board member and Planning and Development Committee Chair. “This project will bring new jobs and add value to the land. New construction projects like this also help ease the burden on local property taxpayers, as well.”

Current estimations for Prairie Wolf’s economic benefits total over $40 million throughout the first 20 years of operation, including positive impacts in new tax revenue, construction jobs, new full-time jobs, and charitable funds through the project’s Education Fund. The Prairie Wolf Education Fund alone will offer approximately $800,000 in donations to the local school districts connected to the project above and beyond all tax revenue and local spending benefits.

“National Grid is delighted for Geronimo to bring this project forward as part of our U.S. renewable energy project portfolio and to continue driving the evolution and decarbonization of America’s electric grid,” stated Daniel Westerman, President, Distributed & Renewable Energy for National Grid. “Prairie Wolf is a clear example of how organizations such as Cargill play a critical role in creating a future that is climate-positive.”

“In addition to being climate-positive, Prairie Wolf is also an agriculture-positive project,” added Blake Nixon, Chief Executive Officer for Geronimo. “Renewable energy projects like Prairie Wolf provide much needed stability and predictability for America’s farming communities. It is fitting that a company like Cargill, an agri-business committed to farmers and the communities they serve, contracts for a project that will benefit the local rural economy and further Geronimo’s own commitment to conduct business in a farmer-friendly manner.”

About Geronimo Energy

Geronimo Energy, a National Grid (NYSE: NGG) company, is a leading North American renewable energy development company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with satellite offices located throughout multiple states in the regions where it develops, constructs, and operates. As a farmer-friendly and community driven company, Geronimo develops projects for corporations and utilities that seek to repower America’s grid by reigniting local economies and reinvesting in a sustainable future. Geronimo has developed over 2,400 megawatts of wind and solar projects that are either operational or currently under construction, resulting in an investment of over $4 billion in critical energy infrastructure and the revitalization of rural economies. Geronimo has a vast development pipeline of wind and solar projects in various stages of development throughout the United States. Please visit www.geronimoenergy.com to learn more.

About Cargill

Cargill’s 160,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive. We combine 155 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side-by-side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture.

Lindsay T. Smith Geronimo Energy
8400 Normandale Lake Boulevard Suite 1200
Bloomington, MN 55437
952.358.5672, lindsay@geronimoenergy.com