There isn’t often a lot of attention paid to how the electricity we all use here in the Chicago area is generated–nor is there much attention to the very real efforts underway to reduce the heat retaining carbon released into the atmosphere. That’s why this article caught my attention. There are interesting and positive moves underway which continue toward cleaner production of electricity. Unfortunately, NO alternative is perfect–the goal is to look to alternatives which put us on a glide-path toward less polluting energy production.

(Photo Credit: Tim Boyle via Getty Images)

Among this article’s interesting revelations: “Much of the energy Chicago consumes is from carbon-free nuclear generation. Illinois has more nuclear power generation capacity than any other state. Exelon owns and operates all six of the nuclear power plants, which in 2020 accounted for 58% of in-state electricity generation.”

Several years ago, I was asked to introduce scientist Dr. James Hansen to students, faculty and area residents who attended a day of fascinating lectures by Hansen at Benedictine University. I spent an interesting day with Hansen, famous as the NASA climate researcher who testified before Congress back in the late 1980s about the looming troubles posed by the unbridled and the increasing release of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. He presented model projections that warming would result on a planetary scale—which has happened. His concerns proved accurate.

In talking with him between his Benedictine University presentations, he indicated his belief that nuclear-based energy production was necessary in the electricity production mix as the transition to renewables gains traction. Nuclear facilities generate electricity 90% carbon free. Clearly, nuclear waste is a vexing issue–but so is the generation of heat retaining carbon emissions through the use of fossil fuels which, once produced, last centuries–even millennia (i.e. a thousand years or more) and produces ongoing and uncontrolled realignments in weather patterns which contribute to damaging and deadly weather extremes.

Also revealed in this article are plans for one of Illinois’ largest solar energy generating facilities–to be built in central Illinois. This facility, which will generate 593 megawatts of energy, a contribution of clean energy to the system.

ALSO OF INTEREST: “Cities of all sizes across the U.S. are making strides toward their transition to renewables. In 2014, Burlington, Vermont, became the first U.S. city to achieve 100% renewable energy. Las Vegas marked the achievement in 2016. Last week, Consumers Energy entered a 20-year agreement with the state of Michigan to power nearly 1,300 government buildings solely with renewable energy. In Seattle, 100% of power generated by utility Seattle City Light comes from renewable resources, 86% of which is hydropower.”

Read the entire article here.