Illinois law sets goal of 100% clean energy by 2050

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On September 15, 2021, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker enacted the Broad Climate and Fair Employment Act (SB2408), setting out the next steps for Illinois energy policy after years of negotiations. This legislation builds on the comprehensive Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016, which boosted energy efficiency programs, customer education and infrastructure and access to renewable energy. In a statement, Governor Pritzker called the legislation “the most important step Illinois has taken in a generation towards a reliable, renewable, affordable and clean energy future.”

In particular, it should be noted that this legislation sets a statewide clean energy target of 100% by 2050, with “clean energy” defined as “90% energy production or no longer carbon dioxide emissions ”. This target is accompanied by an interim target of 50% renewable energy by 2040, based on a narrower definition that includes “energy and its associated renewable energy credit or energy credits. renewable energy from wind, solar thermal, geothermal energy, photovoltaic cells and panels. , biodiesel, anaerobic digestion and hydroelectricity that does not involve new construction or significant expansion of hydroelectric dams.

This legislation includes a phase-out of coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants by 2045, subject to adjustments by the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Power Agency, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to ensure reliability. of the energy network. Grants to convert coal-fired power plants into solar or energy storage facilities will be available from 2024. An annual investment of $ 180 million in the diversification and training of the workforce in the field of energy. clean energy aimed at providing the fossil fuel workforce with transition opportunities is also established. A workforce commission for the energy transition will be created, which will be responsible for planning the possible shutdown dates of all fossil fuel power plants.

To help meet its clean energy goals, this legislation requires the Illinois Power Agency to spend approximately $ 580 million per year in renewable energy credits (RECs) for new solar and wind projects, putting the ‘focus on the RECs of distributed and community solar projects. This legislation also states that nuclear power should contribute to Illinois’ clean energy goals, recognizing that “nuclear power generation is necessary for the state’s transition to 100% clean energy, and ensuring the continuous operation of nuclear power plants advances the interests of the environment and public health ”. Support for the continued operation of nuclear power plants includes the ability for nuclear power plants to earn carbon mitigation credits for their power generation.

In addition to developing EV rules and program administration requirements, a new governor-appointed EV coordinator will also act as a resource person for EV and charging policies. electric vehicles. The electric vehicle portion of the legislation aims to put 1 million electric vehicles on Illinois roads by 2030.

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