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Evanston takes closer look at wind farms

The Evanston City Council voted to move forward with its wind farm project Monday.

The council received reports from the developers Mercury Wind Energy and Off Grid Technologies, who are interested in building a wind farm four to nine miles into Lake Michigan. Council members will establish a committee to review the two reports and recommend a course of action.

“Wind is a concept whose time has come,” said Luke Townsend, general counsel at Off Grid Technologies.

The proposed location is suitable for a wind farm and will have minimal negative effects to the community, said Nate Kipnis, co-chair of the Renewable Energy Resources Task Force at Citizens for a Greener Evanston, a community group hoping to reduce Evanston’s carbon footprint.

Evanston resident Barbara Sykes gave the city council a printed list of issues for them to examine. She expressed concerns about the corporate privatization of public property and the potential environmental impact on the Evanston Roundtable Community Forum.

“I just want to slow the process,” Sykes said, “and make sure that all questions about the negative impact to the environment are answered.”

The wind farm project would benefit the Evanston community and Northwestern, said Lyle Harrison, CEO of Mercury Wind Energy who grew up in Evanston. He would also like to replace the El bridges in Evanston at a discount, build an engineering and science lab for Evanston Township High School and work with engineering students at NU on the wind farm and other projects.

Wind energy could also be a project NU could pursue, said Brooke Stanislawski, who attended the meeting. The McCormick junior would like to develop wind energy for NU.

Stanislawski, who is part of Engineers for a Sustainable World, a nonprofit organization hoping to increase sustainability, is developing a plan with other classmates to convert NU to renewable energy sources.

“Our main goal is to convert all of Northwestern’s consumption to renewable sources,” Stanislawski said.