LENA, Illinois – On a beautiful early autumn day a decade ago, locals from Jo Daviess and Stephenson Counties attended the ribbon cutting at EcoGrove by looking inside a tower and learning a bit more about wind energy. A decade later, the EcoGrove team celebrated a quieter, but no less significant, safety milestone at the wind farm.
EcoGrove has achieved a decade without an occupational injury or illness.
“It is a big deal – safe work does not just happen,” said Karl Delooff, Director of Quality Safety and Environment with ACCIONA’s Energy Division in North America. “We work with high voltage electricity 300 feet in the air. We have weather to contend with, not all of the spaces and work locations are easy to work in and reach.”
DeLooff presented the team with the National Safety Council’s Superior Safety Performance Award and noted that it is rare that a large industrial facility take home that honor. He attributed the success to commitment. “Every day the Site Manager discusses safety and shares valuable lessons from the other sites. Worldwide, we learn from each other across nations.”
Nolan Mullen, Site Manager at EcoGrove, said the safety record was made possible by a culture of safety that runs through EcoGrove. “My team is a family that takes care of each other. Every day we recommit to the goal of ensuring that every member of the team gets home to their real family.”
Since 2009, EcoGrove has generated enough power for more than 28,000 Illinois homes annually, while avoiding the carbon emissions equivalent to that of more than 2,000 cars every year. The project has also been proud to award $80,000 in scholarships, supporting students from Jo Daviess and Stephenson Counties.
ACCIONA had two wind farms achieve a decade of safety in 2019. In August, the company’s Chin Chute wind farm in Alberta, Canada achieved the milestone and celebrated with a trip to Alberta’s Waterton Lake National Park.
The safety and health of all employees and partners is an essential requirement for ACCIONA. This culture, aimed at the effective application of the strictest and most rigorous measures, allows the company to achieve its targets, always within the framework of “objective: zero incidents.” ACCIONA's Energy Division carries out its safety and health policy through an Integrated Management System. This system is certified under the international standard ISO 45001 and is applied in all the countries in which the company is active.