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Illinois Country Living


Automakers Pursue Electric VehiclesLED Light Even More Energy-Efficient Than CFLsStudents Receive a Lump of CoalWeatherization Help AvailableWork Right with Energy Efficient Work LightsCo-op’s European-Styled Wind Turbine Finally Spinning

Automakers Pursue Electric Vehicles

GM may be receiving the lion’s share of attention for its Chevy Volt, but Chrysler, Ford and others are pushing forward in the development of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich., Chrysler has unveiled the 200C EV Concept, a sports sedan with an all-electric range of 40 miles and an extended range of about 400 miles. It also added the Jeep Patriot EV, and electrified versions of the Jeep Wrangler and the Chrysler Town & Country minivan, as well as a Dodge-branded, all-electric sports car that’s based on the Lotus Europa S.

Ford announced that it will introduce an all-electric commercial van in 2010, an all-electric small car in 2011 and a plug-in hybrid by 2012.

In Detroit, Toyota is displaying a small electric-only concept vehicle for urban commuters, the FT-EV, it plans to launch such a vehicle by 2012.

The Toyota Prius, introduced in late 2000, quickly became the best-selling hybrid in the world. The third-generation model still seats five, but it’s a roomier, more powerful vehicle that achieves a combined fuel economy of 50 mpg. It also has a 20 percent lighter electric drive system and a larger, more powerful engine.


LED Light Even More Energy-Efficient Than CFLs

The light-emitting diode (LED) light bulb may dethrone the compact fluorescent light (CFL) as king of the green lighting choices. But it has a ways to go yet in terms of both affordability and brightness.

Through the Cooperative Research Network (CRN), electric co-ops are working on the first of a series of demonstration projects to test LEDs. The first demonstration will examine the possibility of using LEDs for security lighting dusk to dawn applications. Energy use, lighting quality, performance, reliability and maintenance issues will be examined.

While CFLs are five times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, LEDs could eventually be twice as energy efficient as CFLs, says Bob Gibson CRN Program Manager.

LEDs have been used widely for decades in other applications—forming the numbers on digital clocks, lighting up watches and cell phones and, when used in clusters, illuminating traffic lights and forming the images on large outdoor television screens.

Proponents say LEDs can last some 60 times longer than incandescents and 10 times longer than CFLs. But if LEDs are going to replace incandescents and CFLs, manufacturers will have to make them brighter and less expensive. For example, EarthLED is lighting the way with the EvoLux bulb that delivers light equal to that of a 100-watt incandescent, but the $80/bulb price tag may be tough to swallow.

Source:;; EarthLED,; Best Home LED Lighting,; Bulbster,;,; We Love LEDs,


Students Receive a Lump of Coal

This wasn’t a post-holiday prank or a sign of bad report cards, but each student in Connie Moon’s Shelbyville Moulton Middle School fourth grade class did receive a baggie full of pulverized coal.

“We were studying and learning a bit about coal and coal mining in our social studies class, and Shelby Electric Cooperative was nice enough to visit our class and talk about coal and how it is used to produce electricity,” says Moon. “Last week Joshua Bernson brought in some very old mining equipment that his grandfather, Jerry Stephens, and great grandfather, the late Woodrow Stephens, used as miners in Illinois and Kentucky coal mines, and today we learned how mined coal is turned into electricity we use every day.”

“Coal has been getting a bad rap in the news media lately,” says cooperative spokesperson Kevin Bernson who visited with the fourth graders. “We wanted to explain how vital and useful coal still is today, and with newer technology, will continue to be in the future.”

Prairie Power Inc., which is the generation and transmission cooperative that provides wholesale power to Shelby Electric, owns and operates a coal fired power plant in Pearl, and has a stake in the new Prairie Power Energy Campus being built in Lively Grove.

The Prairie State Energy Campus is a 1,600-megawatt supercritical coal fueled power plant and will be supplied by Illinois coal. Owners also include Southern Illinois Power Cooperative and the Illinois Municipal Power Agency, along with five other consumer owned utilities serving in eight other states. It will have emission rates that are approximately 80 percent lower than existing U.S. power plants.

Weatherization Help Available

The Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP) is designed to help low-income residents save fuel and money, while increasing the comfort of their homes.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the state supplemental Energy Assistance Fund. Weatherization services are provided by local community action agencies or not-for-profit agencies throughout the state. You may contact the agency provider in your area to apply for weatherization services, or go to

Although most dwellings waste energy, different types of houses and apartments have different energy problems. Depending on the circumstances and condition of your dwelling, some of the following weatherization work may be done:

• Sealing cracks with weatherstrip and caulk

• Insulating attics and walls

• Repairing windows and doors

• Replacing windows

Weatherization services include having an experienced heating contractor examine your heating system. This contractor will make sure the heating system is safe and in good working order. Work on your furnace may include one or more of the following:

• Clean and tune

• Repair

• Retrofit

• In some cases, replacement of the unit

Renters are also eligible, but the landlord must agree to pay a portion of the weatherization cost before your house can be qualified for any weatherization work. Through IHWAP more than 7,400 homes have been weatherized.

Work Right with Energy Efficient Work Lights

The most energy efficient work lights now use several small light emitting diodes (LED) as the light source instead of a single incandescent bulb. Just how efficient are these LEDs? A work light with 20 of them uses only 1.5 watts, whereas an average incandescent light bulb uses at least 60 watts. They give off almost no heat, and they can take quite a severe impact and still work.

Battery-operated LED work lights are available. Black and Decker now offers a model with 14 LEDs that operates on three AA batteries. The LEDs last up to 10,000 hours and, with the efficiency of LEDs, the batteries last a long time as well.

Have an energy efficiency question? Send inquiries to: James Dulley, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit

Co-op’s European-Styled Wind Turbine Finally Spinning

If you drive along I-55, south of Springfield near Farmersville, look to the east and you’ll see a new 900 kW wind turbine sitting 60 feet above the surrounding fields. The 230-foot tall turbine sits on top of a 14-acre pile of coal tailings, also called a gob pile, which was left by the abandoned Freeman coal mine that operated from 1951 to 1971. The site is being leased from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Members of Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative in Auburn own the wind turbine. Power from the turbine will be distributed directly to the co-op members in the surrounding area. It will provide enough power for approximately 300 homes. The turbine uses one of the latest designs from Europe and is one of the first to be installed in the U.S. The three, 80-foot blades drive the generator directly instead of using a massive gearbox. This new wind turbine is capable of generating power in winds as light as 4-mph and is expected to produce 2.6 million kilowatt-hours per year.

The wind turbine cost $1.8 million. To help cover this cost the co-op received grants from the USDA Rural Development, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development and the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation totaling $750,000. The balance is being financed with a zero-interest loan through the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds program created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.


© 2016 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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