At a time when unemployment rates remain discouragingly high and the economy is faltering, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn won the 2010 race by telling constituents that he would do his best to create new jobs.

On Sunday Quinn tried to focus on that when he signed two bills that would help the state prompt offshore wind projects in Lake Michigan.

The first bill, House Bill 1558, creates the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Advisory Council with the Department of Natural Resources to review options for offshore wind development in the lake. The second bill, House Bill 1487, creates the Renewable Energy Production District Act, allowing county boards to establish renewable energy or wind farm districts. The law would allow a voter referndum to create a new wind district, for example, and could ease the process of new development.

“These bills give the state additional tools to further enhance Illinois’ growing renewable energy industry,” Quinn said. “A thriving green energy sector will further strengthen Illinois’ economy, create jobs and boost our economic recovery.”

The council will examine the environmental and wildlife impacts of developing wind in Lake Michigan as well as the impacts on recreational use. It is scheduled to present its finding to the Governor by June 30, 2012.

Although Quinn may be banking on local enthusiasm for the project, offshore wind projects in Massachusetts and in other parts of the East Coast have caused some backlash as people complain of light and sound pollution.

See how wind turbines affect local homeowners in this video: Wind Power? Great! But Not In My Neighborhood…

Photo Caption: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn speaks to the media during a news conference to proclaim victory in the Illinois gubernatorial race against opponent Bill Brady November 5, 2010, in Chicago, Illinois. Quinn defeated Brady by a margin of approximately 20,000 votes.