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The Mayor’s Wind Farm Committee has completed their work and the City of Evanston is watching the progress of the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Advisory Council, which is working to develop recommendations for the General Assembly and the Governor of Illinois regarding permitting and regulation of offshore wind farm development in Illinois.
Responses to Wind Farm RFI
Request for Information (RFI) to develop power from an offshore wind energy facility in Lake Michigan off the Northern shore of Evanston
The Evanston Climate Action Plan (ECAP), accepted by City Council in November 2008, recommends [the City] “Investigate the feasibility of offshore wind power generation in Lake Michigan.” The development of renewable power at this scale has great potential for reducing Evanston’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The Citizens’ for a Greener Evanston (CGE), an advocacy group of community members instrumental in developing the ECAP, has been researching offshore wind generation and the suitability of Lake Michigan as a wind power generation site for several years. Based upon CGE’s findings, the Staff recommended City Council approval to issue a Request for Information (RFI) for the development of power from an offshore wind energy facility.
On April 13, 2010, the City Council unanimously authorized issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to interested parties for the solicitation of information on developing an offshore wind energy facility in Lake Michigan off the northern shore of Evanston. The City of Evanston issued the RFI on May 1, 2010 and responses were due on June 30th, 2010, by 3PM CST.
While there is a potential site proposed, there are no plans at this time to construct a wind farm in Lake Michigan. The purpose of the RFI was to determine the feasibility of offshore wind power generation off Evanston’s Lake Michigan border including; whether the wind is suitable, what this type of project would cost and how it would be financed, the size of such a facility and the amount of power it would generate, how the power would be sold, what, if any, the impacts would be on Lake Michigan wildlife and habitat, recreation, commercial and navigation activities. In addition, the intention of RFI was to identify potential partners, determine the City’s role and gain a comprehensive understanding of the steps required for the development of a renewable energy facility off Evanston’s Lake Michigan shore.
The City received three RFI submittals before the June 30, 2010 deadline. Two of these submittals were from developers and the third was from a consulting company offering assistance with the project. Since the primary objective of the RFI was to identify interested developers, the consulting firm response is not recommended to be pursued. The two companies that submitted information, Off Grid Technologies, Inc. (OGT) and Mercury Wind Energy (MWe) were asked to make brief presentations about their companies at the October 11, 2010 City Council meeting.
The City Council referred the City Manager’s recommendation to convene a review committee to the City Council’s Rules Committee for further discussion of the composition and charge of the review committee.
The Mayor's Wind Farm Committee was subsequently formed and began meeting on March 24th, 2011 with the purpose to review and evaluate the two responses to the City's Wind RFI and provide comments to the City Council within 90 days. Please click here to view the agendas and minutes of the Wind Farm Committee as well as the working groups reports.
Final Report of Mayor's Wind Farm Committee
The Mayor’s Wind Farm Committee presented their findings and recommendations to the Evanston City Council on June 20, 2011. Their presentation can be viewed here.
The Evanston City Council accepted the Committee’s report and on July 18th voted 5-2 in favor to support the appointment of an Evanston representative on the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Advisory Council and explore grants and other funding to assist with the meteorological study of wind resources on Lake Michigan.
On August 7, 2011, Governor Quinn announced the creation of the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Advisory Council which will review and provide recommendations on permitting and regulation of offshore wind farm development in Illinois. The bill creating the Council was sponsored by two Evanston lawmakers — state Rep. Robyn Gabel and Sen. Jeff Schoenberg and recommendations from the Council will be provided to the Governor and the General Assembly by June 2012.
Please click here to learn more about the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Advisory Council and Evanston representation in this state-wide effort.
If you are interested in receiving updates on this issue in the future, please submit your email here:
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