* Tina Sfondeles at the Sun-Times takes a look at a big part of the Exelon bill that’s been mostly ignored…
State Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, called it “the most important green energy bill that has ever come before the General Assembly.” […]
And the Environmental Defense Fund has said the bill will bring $12 billion to $15 billion in renewable energy capital investment to the state. […]
The bill is viewed by environmental advocates as being based primarily to fix the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard — or to fix the state’s renewable policies by restarting the industry and allowing projects to be built in the state. Those same advocates say just 20 percent of the bill concerns Exelon’s bailout, with about 10 percent benefitting ComEd and Ameren by running better energy efficiency programs. […]
Part of the renewable energy efforts in the bill include the development of wind farms, solar on roofs and a new provision called community solar, which allows people who can’t put solars on their roofs to subscribe to a project at a local business. Customers would see credits rolled off their electric bill for subscribing to those projects.
* PV Magazine has more…
The remaining portions of the bill appear to be largely positive for clean energy. Notably, SB 2814 will reform the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policy, including requiring in-state procurement of renewables and increasing the target to 35% renewable energy by 2030, up from 25% by 2025.
This puts Illinois’ RPS towards the more ambitious end of the spectrum in the United States, even if it is still below the 50% by 2030 targets set by New York and California, let alone Vermont’s 75% by 2032 or Hawaii’s 100% by 2045.
Perhaps more significantly, solar advocates say that the previously broken system of renewable energy credits will now be replaced with a declining block grant incentive program. This is the model that has been implemented in New York and California, and Massachusetts’ latest draft solar program is also following this model. The exact level of incentives will not be set by SB 2814.
* Alliance for Solar Choice…
“We are encouraged to see SB 2814 pass without anti-consumer, anti-solar proposals like mandatory demand charges, and ending net metering. Legislators and utilities listened to the public and to consumer advocates–like Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and AARP–and made it clear that job growth, the environment, and energy choice are important,” said Amy Heart, Director of Public Policy for Sunrun and spokesperson for The Alliance for Solar Choice. “SB 2814 also contains positive pieces such as a fix to the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which will go a long way to increasing access to solar in Illinois, helping residents and businesses manage and lower energy bills, and expanding job opportunities in the solar industry.”
* Jack Darin at the Sierra Club…
“While this bill contains difficult compromises, this is a tremendous leap forward for clean energy in Illinois. With these policies now in place and strengthened, we will continue the work to reduce dangerous carbon pollution, support opportunities for family-sustaining jobs in Illinois’ energy economy, ramp up renewable energy and ensure that clean energy opportunity is prioritized for communities burdened for decades by pollution.
“Clean energy technology is growing every year in Illinois. These policies will nurture that shift away from fossil fuels, bolster our energy economy, and help ensure that every Illinois community can thrive in the clean energy economy. With federal climate action being more uncertain than ever, it is more important than ever that states act decisively on climate change, and Illinois is doing just that.”