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Growing a New Energy Future Downstate

Future Energy Jobs Act
In June of 2017, the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) became law in Illinois. This is one of the most comprehensive energy bills in the country.  Now, an additional $200 million per year will be available to build new solar and wind facilities in Illinois, creating more good paying jobs; preparing a workforce with competitive skills; and expanding the state’s legacy as a top energy produce.  

FEJA accelerates the growth of renewable energy in Illinois, expands the state’s energy efficiency goals to dramatically reduce electricity waste and lower bills, devotes $750 million to job training, includes community solar that will allow those who can’t install solar panels directly on their own property to buy into projects built elsewhere; and funds the Illinois Solar for All Program with a focus on providing access to solar energy and jobs to low-income communities.

Helping Downstate Illinois Become a Leader in New Energy
Eco-Justice Collaborative served as lead organizer in 2017 to bring forums and workshops to downstate Illinois communities who have experienced significant job loss associated with reduced production of coal, and closures of coal mines and coal plants. The purpose of these forums and workshops was to:

  • Bring information and resources to these communities so that they can take advantage of incentives and programs associated with FEJA.
  • Ensure renewable energy jobs and access to clean energy is available to all, but particularly to low-income communities.
  • Implement the Future Energy Jobs Act, maintaining Illinois' legacy as a top energy leader in the country.

Phase II begins in January 2018. Our work program will connect low-income downstate municipalities with the Illinois Solar For All Program. We will partner with leaders and elected officials in economically-disadvantaged communities, guiding them to the programs of the Future Energy Jobs Act, so that they can participate in the clean energy future. Meetings with stakeholders have been proposed to: identify local opportunities; coordinate the resources necessary to bring solar energy to residents who otherwise would not be able to afford it; and provide training for and create good-paying jobs. 

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