Lt. Gov. commends UI energy research

Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn gives keynotes the Fueling Change with Renewable Energy International Symposium at the ACES library. Beck Diefenbach

Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn gives keynotes the “Fueling Change with Renewable Energy International Symposium” at the ACES library. Beck Diefenbach

By Patrick Wade

Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn served as the keynote speaker at the University’s international symposium in the ACES library where he spoke about the past, present and future of renewable energy.

“It seems to me that this is the challenge of our time,” Quinn said. “To have a green way of thinking in everything we do.”

Quinn commended University students for passing a renewable energy referendum, which assesses a small fee to students to fund bioenergy research, and said that the University plays a major role in the progress of renewable energy.

He also criticized Ameren and ComEd for “dragging their feet” on developing renewable energy.

“We need to get the best scientific minds in Illinois and anywhere else to come together to help drive forward the green way of thinking,” Quinn said. “If we don’t have that in our country and our state, our standard of living will fall and our security will be in danger.”

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George Gross, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University, said the University is a great source of expertise on renewable energy.

“We are trying to understand how we can exploit effectively resources such as solar and wind,” Gross said.

The University is now teaming with the University of California at Berkeley under a contract with BP to study biofuels and the economics of using renewable energy.

“I think that’s really an acknowledgement of how many smart people there are here in Illinois and at this University,” Quinn said.