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Wind Turbine Generator(s) on South Farms (Cancelled)

Recent Project Updates

  • 3/11/2011

    In March 2011, John Dempsey, then Executive Director of Facilities and Services, signed the conservation plan for the State Threatened Franklin's ground squirrel at the South Farms location (for wind turbine installation).

  • 3/8/2011

    A modified version of the site location for the wind turbine was proposed.

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Wind Turbine Generators (WTG) on South Farms was originally proposed by Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS) in 2003, and led to the formation of the the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) in 2005. The project proposed the installation of up to three wind turbines on campus to show the university's intent to invest in renewable energy. Even though the project was approved in 2005, it never took off and was eventually cancelled by the Chancellor in 2008. Following that, the students tried to revive the project and successfully advocated for it to be included in the first iCAP in 2010. Unfortunately, the effort ultimately died in May 2011 when the Board of Trustees subcommittee heard from several community members against the project. 


Wind Turbine Generators (WTG) on South Farms was initiated and backed by the students. In Spring 2003, the Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS) proposed and presented the project of installing up to three wind turbines on campus to show the university's intent to invest in renewable energy. This project was approved by the university officials in September 2005, following the investigation by Navigant Consulting Inc in June 2005. South Farms area (Curtis/Windsor Road on the north and Old Church Road on the south and by Philo Road on the east and First St. on the west) was selected as the location for the site for installation of three wind turbines.

By the end of 2005, WTG project had secured a total of $5.7 million in funds ($300,000 from students' sustainable environment fee, $2 million from ICECF grant, and the rest was covered by the university). EAPC Architects/Engineers were hired by the university in 2006 as consultants. The project was approved by FAA in April 2007, following which the university drafted the request for proposal (RFP) for the project and met with GE Wind Energy. Turbine manufacturer, GE Wind Energy sent their proposal in September 2007. However, based on the estimates provided by GE's proposal, the university had funding enough to cover only one wind turbine.

Amid great resistance from the residents of Urbana, the university officials were able to convince ICECF to approve a grant extension until June 2009, but GE quoted the delivery of the turbine in late 2009 to early 2010. The chancellor at the time, Richard Herman, cancelled the project in December 2008 citing "dismal fiscal condition". This decision was met with protest from the students who felt disheartened and hurt by the timing of the decision.


Following the failure of the wind energy project on campus, the university focused on other renewable energy projects such as Solar energy (Solar Farm 1.0 was initiated in 2011 and built in 2015). The funds collected from the students over the years was reallocated throught the Illinois Green Fund, and included support of Solar Farm 1.0 and many other clean energy proejcts across the university.

No description has been provided yet.

Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    Morgan Johnston

    Project Leader:

    Morgan Johnston

    Team Members:

    • John (Jack) Dempsey
    • Dee Dee Caneva
    • Andy Blacker
    • Richard Drew
    • Keith Erickson
    • Michael Marquissee
    • Michael Larson
    • Kent Reifsteck
    • Frank Schwarz
    • Melvyn Skvarla
    • Steve Sonka
    • Scott Rice
    • Wesley Curtis
    • Michael Devocelle
    • Justin Johnston
    • Amy Allen
    • Suhail Barot


  • Proposed March 15, 2003
    Proposed by Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS)
    Investigated June 6, 2005
    Investigated by Navigant Consulting Inc
    Approved September 2, 2005
    Approved by Steve Rugg
    Cancelled November 1, 2011
    Cancelled by Board of Trustees


Project Location(s)

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