(The Center Square) – Now that a proposed wind farm on Lake Erie has been scrapped, backers of a Lake Michigan wind farm near Illinois say it’s time to seize the moment.
Rising costs, challenges from bird lovers and a lawsuit funded in part by a coal company managed to delay the Lake Erie wind project long enough to halt the project.
Several Illinois lawmakers are calling for the General Assembly to pass the Rust Belt to Green Belt Act to pave the way for wind turbines in Lake Michigan off the coast of Illinois.
“News that Lake Erie won’t be home to offshore wind in the near future is unfortunate, but it also provides Illinois with the opportunity to take advantage of more of the federal resources on the table to help meet our state’s clean energy goals,” said state Rep. Marcus Evans, Jr., D-Chicago.
Evans said such a project could create approximately 2,700 construction jobs for minority communities.
In October, a Danish company pulled out of a billion dollar project to build wind turbines off the coast of New Jersey. U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, said the effects on marine life are just some of the repercussions of a wind farm on the water.
“Vessel navigation, including U.S. Navy ships, merchant cargo, fishing boats and search and rescue operations by the Coast Guard may be significantly hampered due to radar interference,” Smith said.
The Pentagon also sounded alarms over the Biden administration’s plans for offshore wind projects along the Atlantic coast due to conflicts with military operations.
Some of the groups who have expressed support for a Lake Michigan wind farm include Illinois AFL-CIO, Teamsters Joint Council 25 and the Chicago Urban League.