By David J. Unger
The recent passage of a sweeping energy bill in Illinois positions the state to be a leader nationally on energy and climate, says Anne Evens, CEO of Elevate Energy, a Chicago-based nonprofit that develops efficiency programs primarily for low-income communities.
The Future Energy Jobs Bill, passed earlier this month by the Illinois General Assembly, boosts the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, provides hundreds of millions of dollars each year for efficiency efforts, and rescues two nuclear plants from closure. A diverse array of constituents praised the hard-fought bill’s potential to boost the state’s clean-energy profile, and Evens was equally bullish during a recent telephone interview with Midwest Energy News…
Midwest Energy News: What impact does the recent passing of the Future Energy Jobs Bill have on the future of energy efficiency in Illinois?
Evens:… I’m very excited about the bill that just passed. It represents a broad compromise between environmental groups, consumer groups, wind- and solar-energy industries and other industries who really sought to increase energy efficiency and renewable generation, and Exelon who sought to keep two financially distressed nuclear plants open.
The resulting bill is really – although it seemed like it moved through very quickly – it was really based on almost two years worth of work on the part of advocates and all the companies, and it was passed with really huge bipartisan support.
We are particularly very excited about the significant increase in energy efficiency [funding] for low- and moderate-income communities, as well as improvements in the regulatory environment for community solar and solar-for-all programs that really can benefit low- and moderate-income communities.
…Now with the [Future Energy Jobs Bill ] that just passed, I believe we have one of the best climate-change/energy bills in the nation – certainly in Illinois’ history – and maybe we’ve set the bar now much higher and put Illinois as a leader nationally…