By SAM DUNKLAU | NPR Illinois
Electricity and environmental advocates offered their pitches to Illinois state senators this week on how to reduce a portion of the state’s carbon emissions. But each group has different ideas about how to do it.
Illinois’ electricity industry is one of the worst in the nation when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the state’s plants release more than 72,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere a year, making Illinois the 6th highest in the country.
To reduce that number, environmental groups say Illinois should produce all of its electricity with renewable sources by 2050. They argue the state can do that with what’s called the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which would change how Illinois procures electricity and prioritize state investment in things like electric mass transit.
David Kolata with the Citizens Utility Board said Illinois should take a larger role in funding that effort:
“You know, there are lots of things we need to invest in,” Kolata told a panel of state senators. “We need to invest in new renewables and clean energy. We need to make sure power plant communities are treated fairly. We need to make Illinois a leader on transportation electrification. All of this costs money.”