Illinois Representative Will Davis (D-Hazel Crest) announced the Path to 100 Act, new legislation that expands Illinois’ renewable energy standards in order to drive new wind, solar and storage development and bring the state to 100% clean energy. Davis worked with an alliance of clean energy businesses to develop legislation that improves and expands on Illinois’ existing clean energy policies in order to drive more clean energy, new jobs and economic development.
“For the sake of our economy and our future, we need to get on the path to 100% clean, renewable electricity and we can start today,” said Davis. “The Path to 100 Act will achieve one of Governor Pritzker’s campaign goals while putting thousands of people to work, generating new investment in our state and new tax revenues for local communities.”
The Path to 100 Act builds on the efforts of the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) to increase renewable energy deployment across the state. Under FEJA, several hundred megawatts of wind and solar renewable energy credits were procured including utility scale wind, utility scale solar, community solar and residential rooftop.
The act will be sponsored by Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) in the Illinois Senate, and introduced in the coming days. The key items of the bill are:
- Expand Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) from its current requirement of 25% renewable energy by 2025 to 40% renewables by 2030.
- Ensure sufficient funding exists to fully implement the Illinois RPS. Under current law, Illinois is falling significantly short of its renewable mandate — currently generating less than 7% of our power from renewables despite requirements for 16% in 2020.
- Drive procurement of an estimated 6,000 MW of new utility scale solar, 6,500 MW of new wind power, 7,500 MW of new residential, commercial and community scale solar.
- Identify opportunities to pair energy storage with renewable energy development and create a statewide study to eliminate barriers for energy storage.
“We’ve seen how Illinois’ renewable energy policies can drive private investment, job training and consumer benefits. We can keep up the momentum and ensure all Illinois residents are part of our state’s clean energy future with the Path to 100,” said Amy Heart, midwest chair for SEIA and policy director for Sunrun.
“The Path to 100 Act is good for Illinois’ economy, the environment, and for people seeking career and business opportunities in the renewable energy field,” said Andrew Wells, director of workforce development for the Chicago Urban League. “It fuels current renewable energy initiatives needed to meet critical milestones in 2025 and 2030 and to bring the state to 100% clean energy eventually.”
“As a company based in Chicago, we see tremendous potential for wind power and solar energy development across Illinois if the state updates policies to match the rapidly developing renewable energy market,” said Rafael Esteban, CEO of ACCIONA Energy US Global. “The state needs a pragmatic fix to reap all the benefits wind and solar offer.”
“The Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016 is working and creating good union jobs across the state today,” said Brian Haug, president of the Illinois Solar Energy Association and Director at Continental Electric Construction. “We have an opportunity with the Path to 100 Act to allow businesses to continue hiring and ensure that our solar boom doesn’t go bust.”
Path to 100 is supported by renewable energy organizations and businesses working to create jobs in Illinois. For more information, visit www.pathto100.net.
Exelon joined environmental organizations, community leaders, business groups and lawmakers on March 14 in supporting this legislation that will preserve and expand clean energy in Illinois, put the state on track to achieve 100% carbon-free power for customers in northern Illinois and meet statewide commitments under the U.S. Climate Alliance.
“The Clean Energy Progress Act recognizes there is an urgent demand from Illinois energy customers for common-sense solutions to address climate change,” said Chris Crane, president and CEO of Exelon. “We stand with our customers and the many other supporters of this legislation who want cleaner air, good jobs and affordable electricity.”
The Laborers’ International Union of North America Midwest Region (LiUNA) has also joined the growing coalition advocating passage of the Path to 100 Act.
“It’s an honor to have one of the country’s largest labor organizations join our effort to strengthen Illinois’ renewable energy policy,” said Rep. Will Davis (D-East Hazel Crest), House sponsor of the Path to 100 Act. “Wind and solar businesses are ready to partner with labor to deliver clean energy and continue building a diverse and equitable workforce here in Illinois. We need to pass the Path to 100 Act to make that happen.”
Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) added, “I appreciate LiUNA’s support for the Path to 100 Act. Having highly trained workers throughout Illinois building the next generation of energy projects is a critical part of growing the State’s economy. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass SB 1781 to make that happen.”
“LiUNA members are building our energy future and we support cost-effective policies like the Path to 100 Act,” said Sean Stott, director of governmental affairs for LiUNA Midwest Region, “The Path to 100 Act will keep renewable energy growing in Illinois and create tens of thousands of good jobs in the process.”
News item from Sunrun. Updated with Exelon statement on March 14 and Laborers’ International Union of North America Midwest Region (LiUNA) statement on March 15