July 21, 2010

Mayor Daley, Exelon Officials Dedicate Solar Energy Plant In West Pullman Community

Clean Energy an Important Part of Chicago’s Future Economy, Mayor Says
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Mayor Richard M. Daley today joined Exelon officials and community members for the dedication of the company’s new solar power plant – the largest such urban installation in the country.

“In Chicago, the environment is a major component of our strategy to attract people and jobs, remain competitive in the global economy into the future and improve the quality of life for all our residents,” Daley said in a news conference held at the plant, 1201 W. 120th St.

“We are strongly committed to investing in green businesses and industries, because clean energy and green technology will be a major part of the new economy that emerges from the current recession,” the Mayor said.

Daley said the City’s economic future is directly linked with its efforts to be a national leader in protecting and enhancing our natural resources.

“Our challenge now is to seize the future and the opportunities it offers. So today I am happy to be here to help dedicate a part of that future -- Exelon’s new solar power plant,” he said.

Daley said the City’s Climate Action Plan – its detailed strategy to help lower greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change throughout Chicago –calls for moving to cleaner power sources and procuring enough renewable energy generation to reduce by 20 percent the carbon emissions caused by generating electricity by 2020.

He said the new solar plant moves the City toward that goal and makes an impact in several important ways: 

  • The 32,000 solar panels, designed and installed by SunPower Corporation, produce enough electricity to power 1,500 homes, with zero carbon emissions.
  • It restores to productive use a 41-acre Brownfield site, leased from the City that had been vacant for more than 30 years and which had significant environmental challenges that made it unattractive to other developers over the years.
  • It benefits the local economy and the West Pullman community by:
    • Returning the property to the tax rolls.
    • Creating more than 200 construction jobs.
    • Being built using steel tubing and other construction materials sourced from companies on the South Side.
    • Serving as a landmark and source of pride for the West Pullman community.

The Mayor said Chicago will continue to work with the private sector and the federal and state governments and use every tool available to achieve the goals of the Chicago Climate Action Plan.

He pointed out that over the past two years Chicago has become a hub for wind energy companies. 14 wind energy companies have established headquarters here because of the City’s manufacturing and transportation capabilities and its proximity to areas with great potential for wind energy.

“This project is a great example of the good things that happen when government and the private sector work together,” Daley said.

“But the benefits of the Climate Action Plan go beyond the important goal of improving the environment. The actions that have the greatest impact – such as this project -- will also create jobs, save companies and residents money, enhance our quality of life and position the city and its residents for future economic growth and prosperity,” he said.

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