11/23/15 – Illinois Business Leaders to Gov. Rauner: Help Us Create More Clean Energy Jobs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact:
Angela Guyadeen, NRDC
312-257-1110
aguyadeen@nrdc.org

David Jakubiak, ELPC
312-795-3713
DJakubiak@elpc.org

Emily Rosenwasser, Sierra Club,
312-251-1680 x119
emily.rosenwasser@sierraclub.org

Jeff Benzak, E2
202-513-6248

Illinois Business Leaders to Gov. Rauner: Help Us Create More Clean Energy Jobs CEOs and executives stress urgency to move quickly so Illinois can attract private investments, new jobs, compete against other states

CHICAGO (November 23, 2015) – A coalition of executives representing more than 140 businesses are urging one of their own — Governor Bruce Rauner — to support both the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) and the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill (SB 1485/HB 2607), legislation which can serve as a path to achieving the new clean air standards while creating 32,000 jobs and saving customers more than a billion dollars on their electric bills. Rauner is one of a handful of governors who have not indicated whether their states will agree to meet the goals
of the Clean Power Plan.

The business leaders made their appeal to Gov. Rauner during a press conference held Monday at Coalition: Energy, a hub for companies and like-minded professionals in the clean energy industry located in Chicago. The leaders represent some of the 149 companies that appear in an ad in this week’s edition of Crain’s Chicago Business in which the businesses call on Gov. Rauner to support both the CPP and the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill. The ad is based on a letter signed by the companies to Rauner spelling out the benefits of both proposals. They point out that while Illinois’ clean energy industry is strong, employing more than 104,000 people, many other states are passing Illinois by in the race for wind and solar projects—and the massive investments and jobs that they bring. The companies stress that the two proposed policies can together help make Illinois more innovative,
competitive and attract private capital to Illinois.

“This is a moment when Illinois needs to decide whether it will capture the investments and jobs of a booming industry—or see them go elsewhere. That is why these businesses appearing here are urging Gov. Rauner to support the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill,” said Lisa Albrecht,
Renewable Energy Specialist, Solar Service Inc.

The CPP is a historic effort that calls for states to reduce dangerous carbon pollution from power plants by nearly one-third by 2030. The CPP gives states the flexibility to create their own strategy to meet the carbon reduction limits. The Illinois Clean Jobs bill outlines a clear path to help achieve these goals and maximize the job-creating potential of the Clean Power Plan.

“By supporting Clean Power Plan and the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, the Governor will be sending a clear signal that Illinois is ready to win the clean energy future,” said Kevin Johnson, Iraq War Veteran and Managing Director of Federal Business Development, Canadian Solar.

As a sign of bipartisan support for the plan, both of Illinois’ U.S. Senators, Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Dick Durbin, voted last week to uphold the Clean Power Plan and against measures that would have blocked it.

The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill would boost the share of energy Illinois generates from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar to 35% by 2030, while improving energy efficiency to reduce energy demand by 20 % by 2025. By 2021, the bill would employ more than 32,000 additional workers than there are today and sustain that
level for the next decade.

“Just as Illinois is important to us—we believe that our business, and the wind energy industry, is important to Illinois,” said Chris Baxter, Origination Manager of EDP Renewables. “By attracting more renewables to Illinois, creating more wind capacity, we can increase jobs, increase investments and continue to provide a lifeline to local communities and Illinois schools—at a time they need it most.”

The legislation would save Illinois electricity customers a total of $1.6 billion by 2030, according to Illinois’ top utility watchdog, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), saving a typical family nearly $100 a year. Some households can expect bigger savings, as the bill dedicates 12.5 percent of the program to serving low-income ratepayers. “An energy efficiency goal of 20 percent is a call to the market that Illinois welcomes innovation, is throwing the door open to technology, is telling manufacturers, engineers, architects and that we’re moving to a smarter, more efficient, less wasteful economy that will benefit everyone,” said Mark Stenftenagel, CEO and Principal, Whitney Architects.

“At AllCell, we are constantly looking for ways to make our products more cost effective and more efficient, which allows us to save money that we can reinvest back into our company and the local economy.

The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill will help us make an even greater impact,” said Greg Albright, Vice President of Business Development, AllCell Technologies.

The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill was introduced by Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Elaine Nekritz and has wide bipartisan support in Springfield. The bill is also supported by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, which unites businesses, environmental organizations and consumer and faith groups.

While Governor Rauner has yet to announce his administration’s position on the CPP, it enjoys broad support among Illinoisans. A recent poll showed that 72% of people around the state support the plan, while on 26% oppose it. Even among Republicans, the level of support is 70%, according to the poll.

“With so many economic benefits and so much on the line, there is no time to waste. We need Governor Rauner to take action immediately to meet the Clean Power Plan goals, which will help us create even more job opportunities right now-right here in Illinois,” said Jen Allen, Community Manager, Coalition Energy.

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The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is made up of Illinois businesses and organizations representing the state’s environmental, business and faith communities. Currently more than 150 businesses and 50 organizations have formally joined the coalition to promote steps to improve the Illinois environment, help consumers, improve public health, and create tens of thousands of new jobs across the state.