Construction underway on Sapphire Sky Wind Energy Center in Illinois

Published on January 27, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

© Shutterstock

Construction has begun on the 250-megawatt Sapphire Sky Wind Energy Center in McLean County, Ill.

Crews broke ground at the end of 2021. The facility is scheduled to begin commercial operations in December of 2022. It is being developed by Invenergy, a global developer of sustainable energy solutions based in Chicago.

“We’re proud to be expanding Invenergy’s notable footprint in our home state of Illinois,” Meghan Schultz, executive vice president, Finance and Capital Markets at Invenergy, said. “The continued collaboration of our valued lender partners, who share our vision of a more sustainable world, make our ambitious but essential projects possible.”

Invenergy Services will oversee operations and maintenance while providing balance of plant and administrative services under a long-term agreement. The company manages more than 13-gigawatts of sustainable energy globally.

“Invenergy Services will be working onsite every day providing best-in-class services to ensure Sapphire Sky Wind operates safely and efficiently,” Kevin Schroeder, senior vice president, Renewable Operations, Invenergy. “The project will add to the 1,344 megawatts of energy facilities currently managed by Invenergy Services in Illinois.”

Sapphire Sky Wind will generate enough electricity to power nearly 80,000 homes each year. Further, it will support approximately 300 construction jobs and nine full-time jobs once completed. In addition, it will invest more than $170 million in the local community through property taxes, landowner payments, and wages and benefits.

Once operational, WEC Energy Group of Milwaukee will acquire 90 percent ownership interest in Sapphire Sky Wind, with Invenergy retaining a minority ownership position.

“With construction underway, we’re thrilled to bring new jobs and economic growth to McLean County,” Art Fletcher, Invenergy’s executive vice president of construction, said. “We look forward to delivering more reliable, affordable clean energy and investment in our project host communities across Illinois for years to come.”

KeyBanc Capital Markets, CaixaBank, and National Bank of Canada were lead arrangers for the financing, including a senior secured construction loan and letter of credit facility.