Aquila and Piatt officials break ground on Illinois power plant

MONTICELLO, Ill., Sept. 18, 2001 – Piatt County government officials and executives from Illinois Power, Burns & McDonnell Engineering, and Aquila, Inc. joined together today to mark the beginning of construction of a 510-MW, gas-fired power plant that will provide economic benefits and strengthen electric reliability throughout the state of Illinois.

The facility, named the Goose Creek Energy Center, is between Deland and the Village of Lodge in Goose Creek Township. While the project site encompasses approximately 40 acres, the plant itself uses only 30 acres. The remaining acreage is planned to be leased for farming.

The facility is being developed by Aquila, Inc. of Kansas City, one of the largest energy wholesalers and risk management companies in North America. Aquila owns or controls approximately 4,100 megawatts of power generating capacity, including capacity currently under development or construction.

Construction will require up to 150 employees, including residents from surrounding communities. The facility will have a permanent staff of six employees, who will be recruited from the surrounding area and will be trained by Aquila.

Officials at the groundbreaking ceremony included Bob Scheffer, Piatt County Board Chairman, and Tom Birge, DeLand-Weldon Superintendent of Schools. The facility is expected to generate a minimum of $185,000 in new property tax dollars, with approximately $105,000 going to the DeLand-Weldon schools. Cost to construct the facility, which includes state-of-the-art emission and noise control equipment that meets Illinois state standards, is estimated at $220 million.

“We are pleased to become part of the Piatt County community,” said Robert K. Green, chairman of Aquila and president and chief operating officer of UtiliCorp United, at the groundbreaking ceremony. “Demand for power is growing nationwide, making this facility and this community important contributors to the economic growth of the entire country.”

Power generated from the simple-cycle peaking plant will be purchased by Aquila and sold into the wholesale market. The facility is expected to operate less than 1,500 hours a year to provide power primarily during summer months when electricity demand is highest because of the increased use of air conditioning and other cooling equipment.

“This plant provides the cleanest practical method of generating power and has the lowest emissions of any combustion turbine in the industry,” Green said.

Aquila is currently building three other power plants in various locations throughout the United States. In May it began construction of a 334-megawatt, gas-fired plant approximately three miles northwest of Flora, IL. It will cost approximately $140 million to build that facility and will require 150 construction employees and a permanent staff of five employees. The company also is building a similar facility in Clarksdale, Miss. and is nearly finished constructing a larger facility in southwestern Missouri.

Based in Kansas City, Aquila is one of the largest wholesalers of electricity and natural gas in North America and is an innovative provider of risk management services. Outside North America, Aquila has activities in the United Kingdom, Norway and Germany. The company is 80-percent owned by UtiliCorp United, an international energy company with more than 4 million customers and operations in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Additional information about Aquila is available at


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