Illinois Clean Jobs Bill – HB 2607 and SB 1485
Energy policy continues to take center stage in Illinois, as lawmakers battle the merits of relying on coal versus building an innovative, diverse, and clean electricity system that costs less, delivers reliable power and creates thousands of good paying jobs. Lawmakers can put Illinoisans to work in every part of the state, capturing our vast potential for clean energy, by passing the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill.
This bill already has enough support to pass, with 64 House Sponsors and 30 Senate Sponsors. But ComEd and Exelon want to see nuclear energy in the mix. Their proposal has caused further delay of HB 2607 ad SB1485, as environmental groups and lawmakers alike work through critical differences in how best to deliver clean energy to the state and fix the outdated Renewable Portfolio Standard.
HB 2607 and SB 1485 will:
- Increase Energy Efficiency: Reduce energy demand by 20% by 2025 through energy efficiency measures, such as home and building retrofits, increased access to affordable energy efficiency appliances and allow non-utility energy efficiency service providers a fair opportunity to compete to deliver savings.
- Increase Use of Renewables: Raise the Renewable Portfolio Standard from the current goal of 25% by 2025 to 35% by 2030. A stronger and longer commitment sends a signal to energy efficiency investors to come into Illinois for good.
- Pursuing Market-based Strategies to Reduce Carbon Pollution & Create Jobs: The bill provides a range of tools to help customers and the environment, including the option of a market-based mechanism to limit carbon pollution. If implemented after a comprehensive review of its impact on ratepayers and other stakeholders, this could create revenues to invest in clean energy, workforce development, low-income bill assistance, and other priorities.
The Union of Concerned Scientists analyzed the Clean Jobs Bill and found boosting Illinois’s renewable energy requirement to 35 percent by 2030 and cutting energy use by 20 percent by 2025, as the legislation proposes, would:
- Drive $23 billion in clean energy investment in Illinois, with $6.3 billion in renewable energy investment and $16.7 billion in energy efficiency investment by 2030 (in cumulative net present value 2013 dollars).
- Build more than 5,200 megawatts of new wind and solar power capacity in Illinois by 2030.
- Generate $12.1 billion in consumer electricity savings between 2015 and 2030 (in cumulative net present value 2013 dollars).
- Reduce the typical residential consumer electricity bill by 11 percent, or $10 per month in 2020, with savings increasing to 23 percent, or $22 per month, in 2030.
- Achieve these benefits despite a 7.7 percent average rise in electricity rates between 2015 and 2030 because lower bills from energy efficiency savings far outweigh higher electricity prices.
- Inject $226 million into the state economy in money spent to operate and maintain wind and solar facilities and lease payments to landowners that host wind farms.
The capital costs of wind and solar power have declined more than 60 percent in recent years, making these zero-carbon technologies competitive with nuclear, coal and natural gas power plants. Because wind and solar power have no fuel costs, they’re less risky than relying on imported fossil fuels that can experience dramatic price swings. Strengthening the renewable energy and energy efficiency standards is the best way to secure an affordable, reliable and more sustainable energy future while reaping significant economic and environmental benefits. – Sam Gompers, UCS Lead Midwest Energy Analyst
Illinois is at an important crossroads. Lawmakers can continue to find ways to relay on fossil fuels, often at the expense of taxpayers (through subsidies) and jobs creation. OR, they can move forward with technologies that drive clean energy investment in Illinois, creating jobs and delivering clean energy. Illinois is in the midst of a fiscal crisis, and also needs to create a plan that would comply with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. It would seem that the decision to move forward with the Clean Jobs Bill that has the potential to bring about some many economic and environmental benefits would be an obvious one.