December 01, 2016
Illinois Energy Legislation Boosts Renewable Energy
ELPC’s Work to Protect Consumers Continues
SPRINGFIELD – After more than two years of negotiations, the Illinois General Assembly voted Thursday on a measure that should significantly improve and expand renewable energy in Illinois by modernizing the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS).
“This legislation should reenergize Illinois’ solar energy and wind power development bringing investments and cleaner air and water,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Growing Illinois’ renewable energy resources is good for job creation, good for economic growth and good for the environment.”
ELPC led a coalition of environmental, consumer advocacy, low-income, faith, public health groups and solar energy businesses in negotiating improvements to the state’s broken RPS. The modernized RPS creates new programs for community solar, promotes redevelopment of brownfields as solar brightfields, spurs solar projects in lower-income communities, and should also help ramp-up wind development. These policies will expand access to renewable energy to people throughout the state. The RPS maintains existing rate caps.
ELPC continues to be concerned about large consumer subsidies provided in the legislation for two Exelon nuclear power plants which the company executives had slated for closure because they are uneconomic in the competitive power market.
ELPC is pleased with the environmentally beneficial provisions in this energy legislation that should result in significant development of new wind power and solar energy projects in Illinois, spur millions of dollars of economic development, and provide for a cleaner environment.
During hundreds of hours of bill negotiations, ELPC partnered with the Clean Jobs Coalition to advance strong clean energy legislation. Additionally we worked with public officials, consumer advocates, renewable energy developers and low-income grassroots groups to strike several controversial provisions from the bill. These include so-called “demand charges,” which would have fundamentally changed how customers are charged for electricity.
“This bill will expand new solar energy and wind power for Illinois instead of creating new barriers through unfair demand charges and proposed weakening of fair net metering compensation for consumers with solar energy panels,” added Learner.