Illinois Commerce Commission Approval Puts State on the Path to Strong Renewable Energy Growth, Fixes Concerns from Proposed Order

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Contact: David Jakubiak

Illinois Commerce Commission Approval Puts State on the Path to Strong Renewable Energy Growth, Fixes Concerns from Proposed Order

Long Term Renewable Resource Procurement Plan Sets Stage for Job Creation, Investment in Wind, Solar Energy; Programs Will Bring Clean Energy to Underserved Communities

A roadmap for renewable energy development in Illinois was approved today by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), and should help the state accomplish many of the promises outlined in 2016’s landmark energy policy.

“This Plan and Illinois’ modernized renewable energy policy put our state on the map as one of the nation’s solar leaders,” said Senior Attorney Brad Klein. “We thank the Illinois Power Agency for their work to develop a plan that will benefit all Illinoisans, and we thank the ICC for addressing shortfalls in the proposed order to pass a strong plan that will drive renewable energy development.”

The Illinois Power Agency’s (IPA) Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan outlines how the state will accomplish its goal of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025, prioritizing the building of new wind and solar projects. The Plan establishes standards for the solar programs created by the 2016 law, including community solar and the Illinois Solar for All program, which will develop solar benefitting low-income communities.

“The Environmental Law & Policy Center’s analysis shows that through 2030 this plan will lead to the development of enough solar energy and wind power to provide electricity to more than 825,000 homes,” said Policy Advocate MeLena Hessel.. “We’re excited because this plan takes important steps forward to ensure greater access to solar energy through the community solar and Illinois Solar for All programs.”

One highlight of the Plan is the creation of a community solar program. Community solar allows business and residential customers to benefit from solar energy even if they can’t put solar panels on their own property.

“With every policy the devil is the details, and after the law passed, we needed a strong plan to drive growth in wind and solar in Illinois,” Hessel said. “This plan is a solid step forward.”

ELPC is pleased the ICC reversed a provision in the Proposed Order that would have excluded projects built in municipal utilities and rural electric co-ops from participating in the rooftop, community solar and Illinois Solar for All programs.

“We worked closely with solar developers, environmental and consumer groups, and low-income advocates to ensure communities throughout the state achieve the promise of renewable energy,” Hessel added. “We commend the Commission for recognizing the need to expand access to these programs.”

The first two procurements under the Plan, which will be for utility-scale wind and brownfield solar development, are planned for this summer. The Plan’s solar programs will launch after the IPA hires a Program Administrator. The IPA will next update the Plan in 2019.

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