Planning for clean energy environment, jobs in Illinois

Mike Miletich | WGEM

Springfield, IL – Illinois lawmakers are working on two major proposals this session to invest more in renewable energy and reduce the state’s current carbon footprint. The Clean Energy Jobs Act and Path to 100 bills were introduced last year. With Gov. JB Pritzker calling clean energy a top priority, legislators have a renewed push to pass the plans.

“The old ways of negotiating energy legislation are over. It’s time to put consumers and the environment first. I’m not going to sign an energy bill written by the utility companies,” Pritzker said during his State of the State address in January.

Legislators held the first of many hearings with utility industry leaders and energy advocates last week. To accomplish the Governor’s goal, lawmakers will meet with the large energy companies to understand the challenges the will face.

The environmental groups hope Illinois can reach 100% renewable energy by 2050, but they know the process won’t be easy with recent federal mandates.

“We need to economize and take advantage of the opportunities that we can achieve guaranteed savings for customers,” explained David Kolata, Citizens Utility Board Executive Director. “That’s why the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) order is so problematic and that’s why we think an FRR (Fixed Resource Requirement) is necessary for a comprehensive bill.”

Representatives from the Environmental Defense Fund say lawmakers have to move forward with a holistic approach recognizing the relationship between energy, emissions, and equity. The Senator leading the conversation says this is the first of many discussions on the future of Illinois’ energy.

Read the entire piece at WGEM.