Illinois to shut all fossil fuel plants by 2045 and invest $580M a year in renewables [Update]

The solar industry in Illinois is reaping the rewards of the state’s Climate and Equitable Jobs Act that passed five months ago.

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Illinois’ clean energy push

February 15, 2022, update: In less than a half year, solar companies have installed more than 2,000 rooftop and community solar projects in the state, which is enough clean energy to power 30,000 homes, the Solar Energy Industries Association reported today.

Further, Illinois businesses are expected to complete more than 8,400 rooftop and community solar projects by the end of 2022, and the state’s solar workforce is expected to increase 47% by the end of the year.

Clean energy businesses reported that they have already expanded work on diversity, equity, and inclusion by recruiting from solar job training programs, creating internal committees focused on diversity, and hiring consultants and recruiters to guide their diversity efforts.

Data was provided by members of the Solar Energy Industries Association, Illinois Solar Energy Association and the Coalition for Community Solar Access, and the Illinois Power Agency. 

September 15 update: Governor JB Pritzker today signed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act into law today. In the new bill signed into law, the Prairie State coal plant will be required to cut its emissions by 45% by 2038, and to close altogether by 2045.  

A bipartisan majority in the Illinois House has voted (83 yes to 33 no) to pass the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (SB2408).

Governor JB Pritzker (D-IL) will sign the historic clean energy bill tomorrow that will shut down all of the state’s fossil fuel plants by 2045. It also sets more aggressive targets for the dirtiest plants and those in environmental justice communities. 

Here are the bill’s clean energy and energy efficiency highlights:

  • Invests $580 million a year to increase Illinois’s clean energy from 9% to 50% by 2040 and creates thousands of new jobs 
  • Community solar programs increase from $10 million a year to $50 million a year 
  • Saves domestic solar industry that was booming before the economic downturn caused by the pandemic 
  • Saves hundreds of millions of dollars a year by expanding energy efficiency especially in low-income weatherization programs, lessening energy burden on disadvantaged communities 
  • Expands labor standards in clean energy projects throughout the state

The bill also addresses issues related to equity, utility accountability, and just transition. On the transportation front, $78 million a year will be devoted over the next decade to electric transportation, with 45% of benefits going to low-income communities.

Read more: Lion Electric to construct the largest all-electric medium and heavy-duty vehicles plant in US

Photo: “Illinois Wind Farm along Chicago Rd 2” by weslowik is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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