Legislation would expand clean energy in Illinois

By Greer Domina

There are hopeful signs that enough actions are now being undertaken that will save the earth from the worst destruction which can be caused by climate change.

Washington, D.C., and 29 states now have requirements that the electric companies in their states deliver “a certain amount of electricity from renewable or other clean electricity sources” (www.c2es.org). Here in Illinois, organizations and businesses are advocating for the passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is a group of more than 200 organizations, businesses and community leaders who are working together to advance the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The coalition includes organized labor, business and environmental leaders, health care professionals, faith and consumer advocates, and youth voices.

This legislation will build on the benefits of the Future Energy Jobs Act that was signed into law by the General Assembly in 2016 and allowed Illinois to become a leader in clean energy and to win the jobs and investments that come along with such investment.

This legislation aims to provide Illinois with a clean, equitable energy future where no community is left behind. The Clean Energy Jobs Act will provide for enough new wind generators and solar PV energy to power more than 4 million homes.

This bill will help Illinois meet all of its energy needs with 100% clean renewable energy by 2050, cut air pollution from the power sector by the year 2030, and begin to electrify the transportation sector to ensure that the state moves swiftly away from the harmful effects of fossil fuels. CEJA will help lower energy bills, create new jobs, and ensure that all Illinois communities have access to affordable clean energy.

Input from 60 community listening sessions were compiled into four pillars central to the new legislation. In addition, the act will make sure all counties in Illinois “have access to affordable clean energy” (ICJC). These pillars include:

  • “Putting the fight for quality jobs and economic opportunity at the heart of a vision for a clean and equitable energy future.
  • Expanding clean energy and energy efficiency in an equitable manner to set Illinois on a path to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050.
  • Achieving a carbon-free power sector by 2030.
  • Replacing the equivalent of 1 million gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles on the road with electric vehicles, mass transit and other alternatives.”

“The CEJA legislation calls for the creation of Clean Jobs Workforce Hubs, a network of front-line organizations that would provide support for minority and disadvantaged communities. The bill also gives preference to companies that implement actions to ensure equitable representation in Illinois’ clean energy workforce” (ICJC).

Read the entire piece at the Daily Chronicle.