Using Wind Power for Electrical Demand at Highway Rest Areas

Focus Area



Air Quality






1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

The Illinois Department of Transportation is currently working with the University of Illinois to study the feasibility of off-setting or displacing electrical power grid demands through the use of wind turbines at our Highway Rest Area facilities. The feasibility study will serve as a baseline for a pilot project we are considering. Wind farms in Illinois are continuing to gain interest and we believe the potential exists to off-set our electrical demands at many of our rest area facilities. Illinois has some 50+ rest areas today. We are considering a pilot project at four of our rest areas to install wind turbines to eventually determine the benefits of using wind power to provide for electrical demands at those facilities. The cost of installing the wind turbines, their kilowatt hour output, and the kilowatt hour demands at the rest areas will have to be factored into any return on investment calculations. We would welcome any assistance the Center for Environmental Excellence would be willing to provide for the costs of implementing and studying the results of our pilot project.

Urgency and Payoff

We believe the potential exists to reduce electrical power demands from traditional sources such as fossil fuel powered electrical plants by utilizing wind power. The potential benefits include a reduction in operating costs for the Department in electrical demand, as well as reductions in pollution from fossil fuel powered electrical plants. Finally, we believe the educational benefits would be significant as we can educate travelers in Illinois through observation of the turbines and static informational displays about the benefits of wind power.

Suggested By

Ken Martin, Illinois Department of Transportation, Telephone: 217-782-5360

[email protected]