Oakwood Hills Energy Center Project Unveiled

Last week, McHenry County Blog revealed that the Village of Oakwood Hills has again been negotiating with those wishing to build a gas-fired electric generating plant.

When such plants were first on the county news pages in the late 1990’s, two companies came forward with proposals for near the intersection of Routes 47 and 176 with what were then called “peaker plants.”

The term referred to their operation during times of peak electric energy demand.

Now, with

  1. the price of natural gas more reasonable because of increased production using the fracking process and
  2. the closing and projected closing of numerous coal-fired electric generating plants,

gas-fired generating plants are in use more than just during peak periods of use.

A partnership of Enventure and Northland Power is proposing a significant electric generating plant behind the Oakwood Village Hall.

They are calling it the Oakwood Hills Energy Center.

In its announcement, the consortium says,

Oakwood Hills Energy Center Project

The web site provides three views of the plant. They are in line drawings and color.

OH Plant 2 color with grass covered buld in bottom right

This is one of three views of the proposed Oakwood Hills Energy Center. In the lower right hand corner is a grass covered building which will be an Energy Educational Center. Included will be an exhibit that will show energy through the ages. The plant, Commonwealth Edison and NICOR will sponsor it.

Also included is a projected timeline:


Preliminary approval by the Village of Oakwood Hills: August 2014

Execution of a power purchase agreement: Spring 2015

Final approval of Air Pollution Control Permit-to-Construct from U.S. EPA: Fall 2015

Final approval of local permits from the Village of Oakwood Hills: Fall 2015

Begin construction: Winter 2015

Begin operations: Summer 2018

*Estimated dates are dependent upon OHEC obtaining a financeable power purchase agreement by March 2015.

There is a page dedicated to what are called “Project Facts”:


The development of The Oakwood Hills Energy Center (OHEC) — a state-of-the-art natural gas-fired, combined cycle power plant — is a joint project between Northland Power and Enventure Partners. This ultra-efficient, ultra-clean facility will allow northeastern Illinois to transition from its long-term reliance on aging coal and nuclear plants to a clean gas and renewable energy future. OHEC will also serve as a backup to the rapidly growing but interruptible wind capacity.

OH plant 5 corner color

A corner view of the proposed Oakwood Hills Energy Center.


  • State-of-the-art pollution control technologies
  • Noise mitigating techniques including stack silencers, inlet sound attenuation, dampers and others
  • The facility will be odorless at all times, both during operations and while idle
  • Well-established lighting standards will eliminate light pollution


The Oakwood Hills Energy Center will provide a safe and reliable energy resource for the region. Additionally, OHEC will bring many economic and infrastructure benefits to the community.

A third

A third view of the proposed Oakwood Hills Energy Center.

Some of the benefits from this new facility include:

  • A new sewer line paid for by the project, supporting economic growth in the area.
  • Improved use of treated wastewater in the region.
  • A new Energy Education Center that is designed to be a valuable educational resource for the community.
  • Approximately $750,000 in property taxes and other economic support for the community, of which $490,000 will benefit local schools.


Northland Power (Northland) is a reputable and experienced power plant operator with a strong safety record. Northland keeps safety as its No. 1 priority and has zero tolerance for injuries. Despite the potential for personal injury in a power generation facility, Northland has not had an employee critically injured in 4.2 million man-hours of work. The facility will be designed and built with strict adherence to all federal, state and local regulations and ordinances.

Some of the safety and security features include:

  • Staff on-site, 24 hours a day/7 days a week
  • No natural gas or other flammable fuel will be stored on-site
  • Fencing and lighting to maintain a secure property without impacting homes

Who are the companies bringing this project to McHenry County?

Here’s what their web site says:


Northland Power is an independent power producer founded in 1987 and publicly traded since 1997 (NPI on the Toronto Stock Exchange). It develops, builds, owns and operates facilities that produce clean (natural gas) and green (wind, solar and hydro) energy, providing sustainable long term value to shareholders, stakeholders and host communities. Northland designed, built and operates seven gas-fired power stations. The first of these entered service in 1990.


Enventure Partners LLC is a power generation project developer with offices in the United States, Brazil and South Africa. It has been successful in the development of hydro, thermal, wind and natural gas projects around the world since 2004. Enventure develops clean and renewable projects based on a principle of responsible energy resource allocation with a focus on safe and efficient technologies.


Oakwood Hills Energy Center Project Unveiled — 4 Comments

  1. The future is in renewable energy.

    This plant will be run down in 20 years.

    McHenry County should be focused on being the future of energy- solar and wind power.

  2. Lots of natural gas is being burned off (flaring) due to inadequate infrastructure (pipelines, processing plants) to process the natural gas.

    State regulators where the flaring is occurring, most notably ND, are coming up with regulations to deal with that.

    The natural gas is a byproduct of extracting oil via hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling from the Bakken formation in the Williston Basin.

    The Williston Basin is huge covering parts of ND, SD, Montana, and Saskatchewan, and small parts of Manitoba and Alberta.

    Williston, North Dakota is in the Williston Basin and is the center of the ND oil boom which is now 2nd in the United States behind Texas for crude oil production.

    Rough location of proposed plant.

    Oakwood Hills Village Hall
    3020 North Park Drrive
    Oakwood Hills, IL

    Directions: 176 to Valley View Rd S to Park Dr E


    Informational Open House

    Village President Melanie Funk told me that there will be a 3-9 PM open house at the Holiday Inn in Crystal Lake (800 S Illinois Route 31 – NE corner of Rte 31 & 3 Oaks Road – entrance off 3 Oaks Rd or Sands Rd) on Tuesday, July 22nd.


    The lifespan of a wind turbine is about 20 years.

    Not sure of the lifespan of a solar panel, but they lose effectiveness every year, they don’t last forever.

    Given that Illinois and the Federal government are persistently coming up with or threatening to come up with more regulations for coal, the market needs to somehow fill any reduction in coal.

    South central and Southern Illinois is a big coal producing region.

  3. The three design illustrations on this BLOG DEPICT an architecturally attractive structure.

    The project presenters at the Zoning meeting on Thursday July 24, 2014 boasted that the structure and its landscaping would be an asset to the community.

    Uh, I’m a little confused.

    Why did they elect NOT to depict the 185′ SMOKE STACK that would abut this plant?



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