Rock Island Clean Line (RICL) promoted Chicago Roosevelt University Ecology Club to travel a hundred miles to read statements about wind energy at the September 2013 Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) forum in Mendota. RICL, a 500-mile HVDC transmission line, hopes to obtain ICC permission to transport Great Plains wind energy to Illinois PJM station. The primary purpose of the Mendota meeting was for the farmers, the ones most impacted, to have a voice.
The misinformed students need to “look in their backyard” and push to have wind farms in Lincoln and Grant Park. The best rated wind speeds in Illinois is at the lake and its shore. Even excellent wind speeds are not reliable; two locations are necessary. Ten turbines per farm would fit nicely; the other 30-40 placed in Lake Michigan. Not only would these turbines provide energy but serve as lighthouses. Farm machinery maneuver around these obstacles; yachts should have no problem.
Wind companies pay high rental space, extra city revenue! Signs could identify turbines, like park trees. Counting bird blade causalities would be an ecology project. Turbines would not interfere with regular park activities: Jogging, biking, softball. Turbine noise and vibration: Chicagoans are used to racket.
The high voltage transmission system can use “undeveloped land” along Lake Shore Drive. Lake Point Tower residents, for the sake of saving the environment, would gladly take a 30 percent deduction in home value. RICL claims no health danger from the electric magnetic waves, so sunbathing and beach family picnics can continue. The closure of Meig’s Field has eliminated the hazard to small aircraft. “Quick Take Eminent Domain” is just a procedure. After time, one will not notice the 180-feet steel towers. The transmission placement would not interfere with anyone’s income source, as farming. Like RICL, the line can “lead to nowhere,” but it would be a great temporary job creator.
Chicago could brag “renewable energy;” so what if there are no predetermined customers. The city shouldn’t mind that RICL can sell or repose the 200-foot easement at anytime. Maybe RICL could pay students to promote this project too. This time buy them cuter T-shirts.
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