Thanks to the Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016 (FEJA), the clean energy industry was one of the fastest growing jobs sectors in Illinois before the COVID-19 crisis hit.
COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting Black, Brown and underserved communities. With the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), Illinois can create long-term answers to the public health and economic challenges posed by the novel coronavirus.
CEJA would improve air quality, which reduces risk and susceptibility to COVID-19 and put people back to work, especially in communities of color and places where coal-fired electricity plants operate. CEJA was created with equity and environmental justice at its core.
As COVID-19 ravages public health and the economy, the urgency to take action on climate change has never been more clear. Ramping up renewable energy development in our state by committing Illinois to 100% renewable energy by 2050, cutting carbon from the power sector by 2030, reducing pollution from gas and diesel vehicles in the transportation sector, and creating jobs and economic opportunity for every part of Illinois must be part of the new reality going forward. Going back to a dirty, expensive energy sector with few job opportunities is no longer an option.
WE NEED ACTION NOW
As we are grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, we are also facing an unprecedented increase in Illinois electricity bills due to a decision by the Trump administration. That decision is poised to raise customers’ bills by hundreds of millions of dollars a year and increase our reliance on fossil fuels over renewable energy sources -- if Illinois doesn’t act to prevent it. The last thing consumers and small businesses need in the midst of a public health and economic crisis is an electricity bill hike that would be one of the largest in Illinois history.
We need a plan for workers, families and communities. Coal company executives themselves admit that coal “is on its way out.” Vistra, Dynegy and NRG have all repeatedly yanked the rug out from under workers and cut and run on local communities, leaving job loss, property tax revenue shortfalls and toxic sites in their wake. CEJA provides resources and much-needed planning.
A renewable energy cliff is here. Without legislation that unlocks new resources, billions of dollars in new renewable energy development will stop. We can fund renewables without placing additional burdens on consumers.
Action on the climate crisis cannot wait. The summer of 2019 suffered the hottest month (July) in recorded history, and extreme weather left all 102 counties in Illinois declared agricultural disaster areas--so there already was an urgent need to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act. But the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis increases that urgency. The Trump Administration's failure to listen to scientists and take decisive early steps to control the spread of the virus coupled with the White House’s continuing attacks on environmental protections make state action even more critical to protect the health of people in every part of Illinois.
Promoting Jobs, Equity and Economic Opportunity, especially in communities of color
- Creates Clean Jobs Workforce Hubs, a network of frontline organizations that provide direct and sustained support for minority and disadvantaged communities, including job opportunities.
- Prioritizes companies that implement equity actions to ensure equitable representation in Illinois’ clean energy workforce.
- Creates a Contractor Incubator program that focuses on the development of underserved businesses in the clean energy sector.
Ensuring Illinois reaches 100% renewable energy by 2050
- Builds more than 40 million solar panels and 2,500 wind turbines across Illinois by 2030, generating more than $30 billion in new infrastructure in the state. Taps into the falling cost of wind and solar, lowering costs for consumers.
- Expands Solar for All, and ensures people have access to solar in their community.
- Expands goals for Energy Efficiency, on the electric and gas side, to lower costs.
- Directs utilities to evaluate lower-cost alternatives to infrastructure modernization
Reducing the equivalent of 1 million gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles from the road
- Empowers local communities to develop Community Energy and Climate Plans, to drive comprehensive local investment in energy, transportation, workforce, and environmental projects.
- Creates a new Beneficial Electrification initiative to incentivize electric vehicle charging, focused on medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that create local health impacts.
- Creates the EV Access for All program, to ensure all Illinois residents can benefit from electric vehicles, and supports the creation of low income electric vehicle car-sharing and “last-mile” electric shuttles to serve transit deserts
Achieving a carbon-free power-sector by 2030 that creates jobs in communities abandoned by coal-burning companies
- Directs the Illinois EPA to begin a comprehensive stakeholder process that prioritizes carbon reductions in impacted communities and reduces harmful pollution from power plants to zero by 2030.
- Creates Clean Energy Empowerment Zones to support communities and workers who are economically impacted by the decline of fossil fuel generation.
- Directs the IPA to procure clean energy and capacity resources to achieve customer savings and expand renewables investment