As environmental activists pushed Evanston officials Monday night to sign us all up up for 100 percent green energy, one alderman tried to dampen the enthusiasm a bit.

Alderman Don wilson, 4th Ward, said that while he generally supports the concept, it doesn’t actually mean what most people seem to think it does.

“It doesn’t mean we’re actually buying our electricity from a windmill or a hydroelectric dam,” Wilson said.

It just means the city would be buying credits, or Renewable Energy Certificates that are claimed to represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.

But the green energy producer — which might be located thousands of miles away from Evanston — still just feeds its power into the electric grid where it’s located. And, Wilson said, and the actual power Evanstonians consume will still be coming from coal-fired or nuclear plants located closer to us.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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