EDITORIAL: Illinois’ energy future needs sense of urgency

By Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board

“Now is no time to duck and cover.

Some in Springfield reportedly are considering putting important energy legislation on the back burner until a controversy involving ComEd contractual lobbyists writing checks to a former aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan blows over. Any new energy legislation would almost certainly involve ComEd.

If they do delay, the Legislature won’t take up proposals including the Clean Energy Jobs Act and a “Path to 100” bill in the fall veto session, which is scheduled for late October and early November.

This would be a very bad idea for two reasons:

1) Ordinary people in Illinois can’t afford it.

2) The planet can’t afford it.

A new energy bill for Illinois, like many other things, was crowded out in the spring session by other major legislation. But even though the veto session is scheduled to last only six days, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Legislature need to roll up their sleeves and get this done. If Springfield delays the process, residential electricity bills could shoot up unnecessarily.

One of the bills on the table, the Clean Energy Jobs Act, would raise renewable energy targets, train workers for clean energy jobs (particularly in disadvantaged communities) and allow the Illinois Power Agency to handle the capacity market for northern Illinois, keeping money in the state to spend on renewable energy projects. It also is designed to get Illinois to 100% renewable energy by 2050, eliminate carbon from the power sector by 2030 and reduce the number of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles on the roads.

Getting anything complicated done in the Legislature is difficult in six days. But we can’t afford delay.

Every year we lose would be a setback for ratepayers, Illinois and the planet.”

Read the entire piece at the Chicago Sun-Times.