Hickory Wind creates IVCC scholarships when operations begin

Wind farm construction is expected to begin next year, if it gets approval

Illinois Valley Community College Dean of Workforce Development Shane Lange (left), Executive Director of Community Relations and Development Fran Brolley and President Jerry Corcoran with Hickory Wind’s Dan Churney and Steve Wolfgram. Hickory Wind created an IVCC Foundation scholarship for students in electricity, renewable energy and wind.

UKA North America’s Hickory Wind, a proposed 80-megawatt wind project in southwestern La Salle County, has committed to establishing a scholarship for Illinois Valley Community College students in electricity, renewable energy and wind studies when the project commences operations.

According to an agreement, when completed, Hickory Wind, which is now in its permitting phase, would award two $5,000 scholarships annually to cover tuition, fees, books and related expenses.

Recipients would need to be enrolled in IVCC’s Industrial Electrician AAS or certificate or the basic or advanced Renewable Energy Technician certificate. The award would be directed toward La Salle County residents but consideration would be given to residents of Bureau and Putnam counties.

“Hickory Wind is delighted to partner with IVCC in helping educate local students in electricity, renewable energy and wind technology,” said Denis Onwualu, Senior Project Manager at Hickory Wind in a news release. “Our hope is that this announcement marks the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial relationship between the college, local residents and Hickory Wind.”

”We are pleased to partner with Hickory Wind to support future electricians and wind technicians,” said Fran Brolley, IVCC Executive Director of Community Relations and Development, in a news release.

Hickory Wind LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the UKA Group, a leading international wind and solar energy developer across the U.S., Germany and Europe. Founded in 1999, UKA has more than 60 wind and solar power plants connected to the grid, and an international project pipeline of four gigawatts.

Construction on Hickory Wind is expected to begin as soon as next year if required county and local approvals are received. Scholarships will begin when Hickory Wind starts commercial operations.

“UKA employs more than 700 people worldwide and has been building renewable energy projects for decades,” said Dan Churney, UKA’s local representative in Peru in a news release. “These projects provide construction jobs, operations jobs, local economic development and new revenue streams for schools, highway districts, the county and other taxing jurisdictions.”