7/23/15 – Letters: Illinois Clean Jobs Bill good for economy



Letters to the Editor, Chicago Sun-Times

July 23, 2015

A July 13 letter, “Keep the energy competition that lowers costs in Illinois,” by Mark Denzler of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association does not speak for me as a manufacturer based in Illinois.

Supplying American-made steel for wind energy projects is an important part of our business, and thousands of American workers use Leeco Steel to produce wind towers. Due to our nation’s great wind energy resource, there has been $100 billion of investment in the U.S. wind industry since 2008, adding manufacturing jobs and growing local communities.

Denzler is simply wrong about the Clean Jobs Bill. Experience in Illinois and surrounding states clearly shows that clean energy saves consumers money. The venture capital firm DBL Investors found that states with the most renewable energy actually have lower electric rates than the national average. A 2011 study from the Illinois Power Agency found that the state’s renewable energy generation reduced wholesale power prices by $177 million per year. This is because wind and solar generation have no fuel cost and can undercut more expensive fossil fuel sources in real-time power markets.

An analysis of the Clean Jobs Bill by the Citizens Utility Board (our state’s ratepayer advocate) found that the bill would save consumers an additional $1.6 billion, or about $100 annually for the average residential customer.

Due to all of these benefits, I support the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill. Renewable Portfolio Standards are successfully working across to country to diversify our electricity mix with clean energy that can hedge against spikes in fuel prices. These standards can also help Illinois and other states meet the requirements of the US EPA’s forthcoming Clean Power Plan.

As a father of two children, I’m proud to work for an industry that is helping to ensure a secure energy future for Americans. There are only gains to be made from taking advantage of the our great natural resources, and I worry for my children’s future if we do not.

John Purcell
Vice President, Energy Division at Leeco Steel