The Clean Energy Jobs Act
Just and Equitable Access to Energy
CEJA programs for low-income and environmental justice communities
Increasing Access and Equity in the Clean Energy Future
Without careful planning and deliberate policy, the benefits of renewable energy can flow towards existing privilege and wealth. This leaves low-income and environmental justice communities, already suffering disproportionate impacts from climate change and pollution, without access to the clean energy future. CEJA counteracts that trend through policies and programs specifically designed to bring additional benefits to vulnerable and overburdened communities. In all, CEJA will create $2 billion of investments in low-income and environmental justice communities by 2030.
Illinois Solar for All and Low-Income Efficiency Budget Expansion
Increases the carveout for the Illinois Solar for All program budget from $10 million to $30 million per year to increase solar projects in low-income and environmental justice communities. This brings the total anticipated program budget to $50 million per year.
Expands energy efficiency programs for low-income communities to $53 million per year.
Improvements to Illinois Solar for All Implementation
Directs the IPA to create Illinois Solar for All sub-programs that prioritize projects that are majority-owned by low-income residents and that build a path to renewable energy system ownership for low-income renters and homeowners.
Addresses concerns with existing Solar for All implementation by creating a separate multi-family housing sub-program and empowering the Program Administrator to help find and qualify potential Solar for All customers.
Builds critically important connections between existing low-income energy efficiency programs, deferred maintenance remediation initiatives, and the Solar for All program. This will help improve wrap-around services that combine multiple programs.
EV Access for All Program
Creates the Electric Vehicle (EV) Access for All initiative to provide $7.5 million per year in funding to help low-income community members buy new and used electric vehicles, invest in electric shuttle pilots in transit deserts, and to create electric vehicle car-sharing programs.
Community-focused Energy Solutions
Changes Illinois’ community solar program to preference projects that have deeply-rooted community involvement and ownership.
Empowers local governments to create Community Energy, Climate, and Jobs Plans to create community-based solutions with local community-led jobs and workforce planning that utilizes the U.S. Employment Plan.
Mandates the creation of renewable energy financing initiatives modeled after the Pay-As-You-Save (PAYS) program. This will allow customers (homeowners and renters with consent from property owners) with low or no credit scores to access financing for energy improvements.
Electric utilities will be required to provide low/no-cost financing for renewable energy projects. This will create immediate savings for the customer and be repaid via the customer’s electricity bill.
How is it paid for?
The Solar for All Program is funded through a portion of the renewable energy charge that is on customers’ electric bills.
Why is it urgent?
Low-income communities are particularly vulnerable to the climate crisis. Without the expansion and improvement of clean energy programs designed for low-income communities, the solutions to climate change will continue to be deployed along socio-economic and racial lines. This disparity gathers momentum - the longer we take to leverage these programs through CEJA, the harder it will be to ensure equitable access to the clean energy future.
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