Illinois Legislature Considers Historic Climate Legislation
Bill includes bold renewable energy targets and workforce development programs
Today, the Illinois State House will consider a bill that saves solar jobs and paves the way for an equitable clean energy future. Senate Bill 2408 represents the most robust energy justice bill in the nation and sets new precedent for how states can help navigate a just transition to a renewable energy economy that puts disadvantaged communities at the helm.
The bill is transformative far beyond the renewable energy sector, with policies around utility ethics reform, transportation electrification, and pollution reductions. Key provisions of the legislation include:
- Immediate re-opening of the solar incentives through the Adjustable Block Program, protecting thousands of existing solar jobs and unlocking billions in solar savings for Illinois families and businesses.
- 350% increase in the pace of renewable energy development in Illinois, putting the state on target to reach 40% renewable energy by 2030.
- 500% funding increase for the Illinois Solar for All program, a dedicated subprogram that unlocks higher solar savings for low-income residents, increasing the annual budget to $50 million.
- $80 million in annual funding for programs that support workers and contractors from disadvantaged communities, including:
- $34 million for a grant program to provide seed capital to emerging disadvantaged businesses
- $1 million for the Jobs and Justice Fund, a nonprofit “green bank” that will infuse disadvantaged businesses with capital
- $21 million for a network of 16 clean energy workforce training hubs throughout the state
- $21 million for a system of contractor incubators that will provide training and technical support to disadvantaged clean energy contractors
- $9 million for contractor accelerators that will support further growth of clean energy businesses to become prime contractors and project developers
- $6 million for a training program for Illinoisans in incarceral institutions that are preparing for their return
“The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (SB 2408) is the moment we have all been waiting for,” says John Delurey, Midwest Senior Regional Director at Vote Solar. “It will save thousands of existing solar jobs and chart a course towards a vibrant, clean, and equitable energy future for Illinois. With over $80 million each year dedicated to supporting disadvantaged workers and contractors, this bill will ensure that Illinois prioritizes underserved communities for the tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investments that this bill will create. Vote Solar urges the Illinois House to make history by passing Senate Bill 2408 today.”
On September 1, the Illinois Senate voted to pass a nearly identical bill, Senate Bill 18. If SB2408 passes the House today, it’s expected to be considered in the Senate as early as Monday, the final step before heading to the Governor’s desk.