* Two pretty good pieces today about what’s in the climate/energy bill that the Senate is scheduled to take up later on final passage. You should read all of both stories. Here’s the Tribune…
The proposal sets a goal of moving the state to 100% “clean” energy by 2050, with interim goals of 40% of the state’s power coming from renewable sources by 2030 and 50% by 2040.
To get there, subsidies for wind and solar projects would roughly double, to about $500 million per year. The plan also would allow the state’s large electric utilities to spend about $317 million in previously collected funds on renewable energy projects rather than refunding it to customers. Under existing law, the money was supposed to pay for projects that came online by May 31 of this year, but many were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. […]
Opponents have raised concerns about the cost to municipalities that invested in Prairie State and to the city of Springfield, and they’ve also questioned whether closing coal and natural gas plants would hurt reliability of the energy grid.
But the plan would allow specific units to remain open if regulators determine they’re essential for reliability and stability of the grid.
Opponents say by saving thousands of northern Illinois jobs in nuclear plants, the bill would mean the loss of more than 1,000 jobs by the premature closure of coal-fired plants operated by CWLP and at Prairie State. Opponents also say downstate communities could be forced to rely on energy produced in other states burning fossil fuels.
The legislation gives CWLP and Prairie State until June 30, 2038, instead of Jan. 1, 2035, to reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions by 45%. If that level of reduction couldn’t be reached, one or more generating units would have to close,
Prairie State has two generating units, which would allow at least one of the two to continue operating until coal-fired generation would be banned in 2045. CWLP officials said it appears the bill would allow the Dallman Power Station to keep operating until 2045.
The bill would count the December 2020 closure of coal-fired units Dallman 31 and 32, along with the planned 2023 closure of Dallman 33, toward the 45% carbon-emission reduction requirement in the bill.
*** UPDATE 1 *** The climate/energy bill passed Senate 37-17-3. They had remote voting issues, among other things. But that’s two votes less than the last time they passed the bill.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Gov. Pritzker…
Governor JB Pritzker released the following statement on the Senate passage of the comprehensive energy package, Senate Bill 2408, that puts consumers and the climate first:
“Today, with the Senate passage of SB 2408, the State of Illinois is making history by setting aggressive standards for a 100 percent clean energy future. After years of debate and discussion, science has prevailed, and we are charting a new future that works to mitigate the impacts of climate change here in Illinois.
“SB 2408 puts the state on a path toward 100% clean energy and invests in training a diverse workforce for the jobs of the future. Illinois will become the best state in the nation to manufacture and drive an electric vehicle, and equity will be prioritized in every new program created. SB2408 puts consumers and climate at the forefront, prioritizing meaningful ethics and transparency reforms, and institutes key ratepayer and residential customer protections.
“I’d like to thank Leaders Cunningham and Hastings and Sen. Villanueva for the many hours spent in working group meetings and negotiating sessions. I am proud of the collaborative work between stakeholders, Senate President Don Harmon and Speaker Welch that resulted in a package that makes meaningful progress in protecting our climate and consumers.
“I look forward to signing this historic measure into law as soon as possible, because our planet and the people of Illinois ought not wait any longer.”
* CJI Executive Director Joe Duffy…
We commend our partners in the Senate for their steadfast leadership and their commitment to getting this bill over the finish line. What this legislation proves is that we don’t have to choose between jobs and a cleaner, fairer future. We can do both.
With this landmark legislation, we will build the clean energy economy of the future—powered by union jobs—to reverse generations of carbon emissions and build a pathway to the middle class for new generations of highly trained workers from historically disinvested communities. We will justly transition from fossil fuels and raise the bar on transparency and accountability for utilities and energy developers in the greater interest of ratepayers and consumers.
This bill is the most pro-worker, pro-climate legislation in the country and will establish Illinois as a leader in fighting the climate crisis. The urgent need for bold climate action cannot wait any longer, and we can’t wait to get to work building a cleaner, fairer future for Illinois. We urge Gov. Pritzker to immediately sign this legislation.”
SB 2408 sets the strongest clean energy labor standards in the country and promises to raise the bar for other states seeking to enact new labor and employment policies for building and maintaining clean energy developments.
The bill will create thousands of new clean energy union jobs, expand union apprenticeships for Black and Latinx communities, increase energy efficiency for public schools and safeguard thousands of union workers at the state’s nuclear plants that currently generate the bulk of Illinois’ zero-emissions energy.
* Sierra Club Illinois Director Jack Darin…
“Today is a historic day, not just for Illinois, but for the entire nation. Today, legislators listened to the voices of all Illinoisans in passing the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, and Illinois will act on climate change with a plan for a 100% clean energy future that centers equity and racial justice.
“This bill came about through a coalition-led community engagement process that centered people’s needs today and their hopes for the future, and not utilities or special interests.
“We applaud the work of legislators and stakeholders that helped reach this agreement, and particularly the bold leadership of Governor Pritzker in delivering this historic win for Illinois communities and our planet.”
“The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition applauds the Senate on today’s passage of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act. We are on the verge of history in Illinois, poised to take significant steps to address our climate crisis, create equitable, good-paying jobs across the state particularly in Black and Brown communities, and enact tough utility accountability measures.
“We would like to thank Governor Pritzker, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, Senate President Don Harmon, and legislative champions in addition to thousands of diverse advocates who have been organizing for a clean energy future for more than three years.”
* Speaker Welch…
“With the Senate’s passage of this comprehensive energy proposal, the Illinois legislature has positioned our state as a national leader for clean energy policies,” said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “I was elected to lead the House chamber eight months ago today, and I’m so proud to see all of the hard work we’ve put into this bill finally come to fruition. I look forward to seeing Governor JB Pritzker sign it into law so we can put Illinois on the path to a greener future, while also prioritizing jobs, a diversified energy sector and much-needed utility ethics reforms.”
* Senate President Don Harmon…
The threat to our planet is real.
Our goal all along was to enact reliable, renewable and affordable energy policies that position Illinois to lead the nation in combatting climate change and growing a green energy economy.
That is exactly what we are doing here today.
From the beginning, this has been a shared goal and I want to thank the Senate, House and governor’s team for all their work in putting this together.
* Paul Schimpf…
Democrats have once again chosen special interest groups over the people of Illinois by passing SB 2408. Their environmental virtue signaling will not impact global climate change, but will result in the largest rate increase in Illinois history, raising utility prices for working families and making our energy supply less reliable. Illinois families and businesses can’t afford to pay more for Springfield’s wreckless spending and dealmaking. JB Pritzker should stand up for the people of Illinois, not the special interest groups, and veto this bill.
Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) Executive Director Jen Walling on today’s historic Senate vote on SB2408, the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act:
“This is a story about the power of people and the environmental movement in Illinois standing up to big fossil fuel and utility companies–and winning. The passage of this bill is proof that years of education, advocacy and movement building have secured a strong climate action majority in the Illinois General Assembly.
“Gov. JB Pritzker and environmental champions in the House and Senate sided with their constituents over polluting fossil fuel industries who, until today, dictated energy policy in our state. IEC extends our sincere thanks for their dedication to passing a true climate bill with nation-leading equity standards, which will create thousands of good-paying jobs and put Illinois on a path to a 100% clean energy future. These legislators have provided a just transition for workers and communities historically dependent on dirty fossil fuels. They have enacted some of the toughest utility accountability measures in the nation. And, through this legislation, they will create jobs and wealth in Illinois’ Black and Brown communities, who have too often been the first to suffer the negative consequences of pollution, but the last to reap the health and economic benefits of a clean energy future.
“The legacy of fossil fuels in the power sector poisoning our communities and driving the climate crisis will officially come to an end in 2045. There is still more work to do, but today we celebrate this leap forward in creating a more equitable and thriving environment for generations to come.”
* Path to 100…
Today, Illinois passed major clean energy legislation that commits the state to reaching 40% renewable energy by 2030 and 50% renewables by 2040. The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act puts Illinois at the forefront of the fight against climate change all while creating tens of thousands of jobs, expanding diversity in the renewable energy industry, and providing more than $1 billion in electricity bill savings for consumers.
The 40% renewable energy standard was first introduced in the Path to 100 Act by Representative Will Davis and Senator Bill Cunningham in 2019. The renewable energy impacts of the legislation include:
· The 40% renewable energy goal will spur the construction of over 4,000 MW of new wind, 4,000 MW of new utility-scale solar, and 5,800 MW of new rooftop and community solar.
· The Illinois Power Agency will procure approximately 2.5 million new renewable energy credits (RECs) by June 2022 and 3.8 million new RECs per year from 2022-2030.
· The RECs will support wind energy (45%) utility-scale solar (25.85%) brownfield solar (1.65%) and community, rooftop and residential solar through an adjustable block program (27.5%).
· Credits in the adjustable block program are divided among community solar (30%), large distributed generation (20%), small distributed generation (20%), schools (15%), equity eligible projects (10%) and Community driven community solar (5%).
“As a result of this landmark legislation, Illinois is now ready to embark on its clean energy future,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Opening the Illinois market is critical to the growth of energy sources that will clean the air, create jobs and jumpstart the state’s economy. Illinois is now a national leader in crafting renewable energy solutions and we want to thank Governor Pritzker, Senate President Harmon, Speaker Welch, Senator Cunningham and Representative Davis for their leadership on this important bill.”
“Illinois kept its promise to the solar workers who have dedicated their careers to building our renewable energy future,” said Lesley McCain, executive director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. “After years of advocacy, we now have a path to reverse job losses and deliver clean electricity for families across Illinois.”
In addition to growing clean, renewable energy, the bill includes important requirements for diversity, equity and inclusion in the renewable energy industry that were supported by community advocates and wind and solar businesses. Key equity provisions include supplier diversity requirements for companies that participate in the state’s renewable energy program, a dedicated block of renewable energy incentives for businesses from underserved communities and requirements for utility-scale renewable energy projects to complete project labor agreements that directly address the hiring of minority employees.
“Expanding access to low-cost renewable energy through community solar is vital for Illinois to make the transition to clean energy in a manner that is equitable and just,” said Laurel Passera, policy director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA). “We applaud the legislature for passing a bill that will provide the needed pathway to improve Illinois’ energy infrastructure, create good-paying jobs, and provide access to many thousands of residents, businesses and community organizations who do not currently have the opportunities to participate in the clean energy economy.”
The bill also includes the strongest labor provisions in the nation and guarantees that renewable energy growth will create tens of thousands of good union jobs in Illinois. All workers building commercial and community-scale renewable energy projects will be paid prevailing wages and utility-scale projects will complete project labor agreements with organized labor.
“SB2408 is landmark legislation that shows what is possible when industry and labor work together,” said Joe Duffy, executive director of Climate Jobs Illinois. “This law will make Illinois a national leader in building the clean energy economy of the future, and it will open up new opportunities for historically disadvantaged communities, creating thousands of union jobs and expanding apprenticeship opportunities that will pave the way to the middle class for a new generation of homegrown, highly trained workers. We hope Gov. Pritzker will sign this legislation right away so we can get our members and new trainees to work in the fight against climate change.”
Illinois’ renewable energy workforce will be on the job immediately building the projects the state needs to reach its aggressive clean energy goals. The renewable energy industry will continue to collaborate with policymakers and other stakeholders to create Illinois’ clean energy future.
…Adding… DPI Chair Robin Kelly…
“Illinois Democrats have once again shown we lead the nation in addressing our most pressing issues. This was an unprecedented effort by Democrats at all levels to craft legislation that puts Illinois on a path to a clean energy future, creates sustainable jobs and climate equity throughout our state’s many diverse communities. I applaud our Democratic leaders, including Gov. Pritzker, Speaker Welch and President Harmon, for ensuring critical stakeholders were at the table, including community leaders, climate and environmental justice advocates, faith leaders, Black and brown business leaders, labor leaders and engaged citizens. Our state’s future is brighter because of this process.”
* Sen. Michael Hastings…
“Today’s historic agreement is the culmination of a difficult, but worthwhile negotiation process where we refused to accept anything less than the best for Illinois’ clean energy future,” Hastings said. “Our work product is one that is renewable, reliable, and affordable for all Illinoisans.”
Under Senate Bill 2408, the largest investment in renewable energy in state history, Illinois will embark on an aggressive path to complete clean energy generation by 2050.
Additionally, this plan preserves nearly 28,000 direct and indirect jobs and $149 million in local economic impact.
“Job preservation and economic viability for often forgotten communities remained a focal point for me throughout this process,” Hastings said. “Not only were we able to preserve these jobs, but we also created the opportunity to train for thousands of new, good-paying jobs in the clean energy sector.”
* Sen. Sue Rezin…
“For over two years, we have spent countless hours fighting to preserve our state’s entire nuclear fleet. On the day that the Byron Generating Station was scheduled for decommission, we finally passed a bill that makes that a reality.
“While I don’t agree with everything that is included in Senate Bill 2408, it does keep our nuclear plants online, saves thousands of Illinois jobs, and puts our state on a realistic path to 100 percent clean, carbon-free energy.
“Without this bill, any hope of bringing a carbon-free energy future to Illinois by 2050 will be all but impossible and thousands of good-paying jobs would be lost throughout our state.”
* More resources…
* State Week: Energy Package Powers Through
* Podcast: What does the energy bill do?
* Illinois to become first Midwest state to adopt carbon-free electric grid