Timing Is Everything

Clif Carey :: Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

In following the story of the wind turbine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), I’m once again reminded of a lesson I learned early on in my tenure there as Director of Planning and Campus Architect:  Timing is everything.

Let me explain.

As recently reported in the Champaign News-Gazette,  the idea of  constructing wind turbines at UIUC goes back 8 years, to a time when money could be “found” for projects that interested the Campus.  The original 2003 idea floundered because it was difficult to justify the funding for three turbines. The desire to demonstrate our commitment to renewable energy did not match the requirement to show its economic viability.

Eight years later, a smaller project (a single turbine) appeared to have the funding mostly in-hand, but now finds an ordinance passed by the City of Urbana that claims jurisdiction over the site.  Spirited debate has ensued over both the applicability of the ordinance to the UIUC, as well as the turbine itself.  Had the turbine advanced as originally planned, back in 2003, it would have preceded the ordinance.

That’s why timing is everything.

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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 Clif's Notes on Higher Education

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