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Illinois looks to Lake Michigan

Lawmakers advance bill to map best sites for offshore wind

Illinois looks to Lake Michigan image

A bill that lays the groundwork for offshore wind development in Lake Michigan has received preliminary approval in the Illinois state senate.

The Senate Energy Committee unanimously approved Bill HB 2753, which authorizes the Department of Natural Resources to determine the best locations to site wind projects.

The Lake Michigan Wind Energy Act also entitles the department to grant offshore wind site assessment permits and leases, which later can be converted to construction and operation leases.

In addition, the legislation creates an ‘offshore wind energy economic development policy task force.’ The task force would evaluate policy and economic options to facilitate offshore wind energy development. It also would propose a mechanism for purchasing and selling offshore wind power.

In many places the lake is more than 100 miles wide between Illinois and Michigan with depths up to 1000 feet. Its average depth is 280 feet while areas seven to nine miles offshore are 70 to 90 feet deep.

The full senate will consider the bill at a second reading today. The house passed the proposed legislation in April.

Second reading: Bill promotes offshore wind development (Illinois Office of Tourism)

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