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Making electricity from the wind appears to have a lot of potential here in Cook County, and could be our best near-term strategy for generating significant amounts of carbon-free energy. Recent studies show a very good wind resource at higher elevations within a few of miles of Lake Superior. This resource could be utilized either through small-scale wind turbines (up to 40 kilowatts) designed to power individual homes and businesses; or through large-scale or utility-scale wind turbines (up to 1,700 kilowatts) that could provide power for 350-400 homes.

Big Wind

North Shore Wind Resource Map
After installation of the turbines, wind power produces no carbon or other pollutants; it's renewable; and especially when locally-owned, it could be an important part of a new, local energy industry, creating local jobs and keeping local capital working in our community. 

Of course, care must be taken, especially with the larger turbines, to address environmental and social concerns. The cumulative effect of wind power in this area on bird and bat populations must be considered. Also of concern to many of our neighbors and visitors will be noise levels and aesthetic considerations. Hopefully, with good information, intelligent design, and careful siting we can address these issues successfully. 

  • Engage Cook County community in dialog about the benefits/drawbacks of utility-scale wind power.
  • Assess possible effects on bird and bat populations.
  • Consider aesthetic concerns.
  • Determine compatibility of electrical grid with respect to load capacity and the intermitent nature of wind energy.
  • Negotiate buyer for electricity produced.
  • Determine structure of ownership (local ownership preferable)
  • Select possible sites for utility-scale turbines.
  • Conduct site-specific wind resource monitoring.
  • Commission a comprehensive feasibility study.
  • Apply for necessary permits.

Small Wind

Small-scale wind turbines (up to about 40 kilowatts) can be installed with batteries in a stand alone, or off-grid, system, or without batteries in a grid-tied system that sells excess electricity back to the utility at retail price. 

  • Help to educate home and business owners about small wind opportunities in Cook County.
  • Work with public utilities to make local electrical grid easily accessible to grid-tied small wind systems.
  • Work with Cook County to streamline regulatory process for small wind towers.
  • Encourage local businesses to sell and service small wind turbines and towers.
  • Gather and share funding resources.
If you would like more information or would like to participate in wind power research, education or development in Cook County, please email
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Bird Study 2010 Annual Report.pdf May 24, 2016 345kb 
Wind Resource Development in the Minnesota Coastal Zone.pdf May 24, 2016 645kb 
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