April 12, 2024

Clean energy project may be coming to Rockford, turning waste into aviation fuel

Source: WTVO (FOX)


ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Senator Tammy Duckworth among other local government representatives spoke on a facility that could turn waste into aviation fuel on Friday.

“So we are the future energy state for the nation, but that means we’ve got to work together,” said Duckworth.

Duckworth spoke to Stateline-area government and local agencies about manufacturing goals and plans for the area, including possible plans of turning waste into aviation fuel through a proposal from California-based company Monarch Energy, which has several multi-million dollar hydrogen and solar plants across the country.

“In the role of all of our elected leaders coming together and saying, you know, where do we need to be five years from now? Where do we need to be seven years from now,” said Region 1 Planning Executive Director Michael Dunn. “It starts with the federal government allowing, you know, very complicated developments to be funded.”

“We’re about being in business. Right. We want job growth,” said Winnebago County Board Chairman Joseph Chiarelli. “We want growth, economic growth. And we want to be able to capitalize on our natural resources here.”

The City of Belvidere Mayor Clinton Morris wanted to ensure safety and travel are not disregarded as the focus has stayed on growing manufacturing. He said improving jobs and the economy is the main goal, but wants to make sure trains and freight do not cause issues in other ways.

“We can take all the victory laps we want with some of the development that we’ve had,” said Morris. “But believe me, we have to plan for how we’re going to make sure that we don’t tie up Belvidere with public safety, with a train and with all the semi-freight traffic. That’s not good.”

All Stateline leaders agreed that everyone needed to be on the same page. They said that is necessary to put any plan in motion.

“For so many years. One of the negatives in our region was that not everyone was talking together, working together and rowing in the same direction,” said City of Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. “And obviously we still have hiccups here and there, but we are we have come a really far away. You know, Stellantis is located in Belvidere as an example. But that’s incredibly important to the city of Rockford because about half of those employees come from Rockford.”

“I’ve had a lot of help from the regional mayors and village presidents, but we’ve also had a lot of help from our state, you know, legislators all the way to the governor’s office,” said Morris.

“Our state delegation or federal delegation, you know, once we set priorities in Winnebago County, we got to make sure that they understand and we understand what their priorities do,” said Chiarelli.

The project turning waste into useful energy and is still not finalized, but was one of the many ideas to utilize resources and grow the workforce in the region.

By:  Jess Liptzin