Clean Energy Jobs Act will push Illinois forward on clean energy jobs, savings, and climate change action

With the overwhelming majority of Americans supporting a full transition to 100 percent clean energy, Vote Solar, a national nonprofit that advocates for state-level policies, is proud to stand with the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition in support of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, a bill to transition Illinois to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Introduced today by Senator Cristina Castro and Representative Ann Williams, the bill is expected to spur thousands of local jobs, generate millions in local investments, and position Illinois as a leader in the nation’s clean energy economy. It also represents a significant step toward improving public health and action on climate change and is endorsed by a broad coalition of organizations, including energy experts, environmental groups, environmental justice advocates, consumer advocates, healthcare professionals, businesses, faith leaders and others.

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“Strong majorities of voters across the political spectrum are ready for solar, wind, and other renewable technologies to fully power our economy,” said Becky Stanfield, senior director of the midwest at Vote Solar. “With Congress unable to lead, states must create take action to replace the old, expensive and highly polluting electric grid with an electricity system that can meet the challenges of the 21st century, providing clean, reliable and affordable power to all electricity customers.”

Just last week, a nationwide poll from Yale found that 85% of all registered voters, including 71% of Republicans and 95% of Democrats, support requiring utilities in their state to procure 100% of their electricity from clean, renewable sources by 2050.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act builds on the success of the Future Energy Jobs Act passed in 2016 by creating policies and programs to ensure that every community across the state sees the economic and environmental benefits of a clean energy transition. Among the bill’s strongest elements are provisions to:

  • Require that 45% of our power come from renewables by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

  • Envisions continued growth and integration of rooftop solar through expansion of the existing Adjustable Block Program and the rebate program that will compensate homeowners and businesses for the value their solar energy systems provide to the grid.

  • Ensures the continued growth of community solar which has been extremely successful under FEJA.

  • Expand the Illinois Solar for All program which works to provide access to solar benefits for low and moderate-income communities who face both high energy cost burden and a host of specific challenges accessing solar under traditional policies and programs.

  • Requires utilities to engage in a transparent and comprehensive distribution system planning process to identify and capture opportunities to use customer-sited distributed solar and storage to improve grid reliability and reduce grid maintenance costs.

  • Requires Illinois Power Authority to procure capacity to meet the state’s resource adequacy requirements, thereby mitigating PJM market rules that serve to prop up fossil fuel plants and delay emission-reductions.

The Clean Energy Jobs Act is one of two bills this year calling for a transition in Illinois to 100% renewable power and for expanding access to solar for all Illinoisans, reflecting a growing recognition that clean energy plays a central role building a modern, affordable, reliable energy system. Vote Solar is eager to work with all stakeholders to build consensus and enact 100% renewable legislation in Illinois.

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