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Illinois Energy

Will Lake Michigan Become an Illinois Wind Farm?


(Windy City) — August 8, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn yesterday announced the signing of legislation to breathe life into wind energy production efforts on Lake Michigan.

“A thriving green energy sector will further strengthen Illinois’ economy, create jobs and boost our economic recovery,” said Quinn.

The legislation, House Bill 1558, sponsored by State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and State Senator Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), creates the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Advisory Council to review the potential for wind energy projects in the waters of Lake Michigan.

“Offshore wind power provides our communities an incredible opportunity for clean and efficient energy, and helps our state achieve its energy independence goals,” Gabel said. “With this unique opportunity, however, comes new challenges, and it is important that we undertake this process to set the right guidelines from the start.”

In April, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement approved the country’s first offshore wind farm, a 130-turbine, 468-megawatt wind project in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts.

Construction of Cape Wind, which should begin in the fall, will cost $2.62 billion to build and will power 200,000 homes in average winds.

It estimated that ratepayers will pay $1.2 billion above the market price of comparable energy.

After examining wildlife impact, protected habitats, and recreational uses of Lake Michigan, the Illinois wind council will identify locations that would be appropriate for offshore wind development.

The panel will present its recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly by June 30, 2012.

The law goes into effect immediately.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.

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