Focus on Illinois and CEJA: The Problem in Illinois
In Illinois, coal plants are closing; it’s the economy causing the shift. Clean energy is cheaper and makes more sense in the long term. Read these articles showing a clear and undeniable shift:
- Vistra Accelerates Pivot to Invest in Clean Energy and Combat Climate Change: Vistra has made a 100% renewable commitment and is closing all Illinois coal plants.
- Ameren announces new plans to emphasize renewable energy: Ameren “plans to reduce carbon emissions 50% by 2030 and 85% by 2040, based on 2005 levels. It also will eventually close all of its coal-based power plants, starting with the retirement of the Meramec Energy Center in 2022 and ending with the final coal-power plant closing in 2042.”
- Layoffs at Southern Illinois Power Co-op set to begin Oct. 21: SIPC is shutting down a coal boiler and replacing with solar. It’s going to save consumers $125 million, but 21 people are losing their jobs.
The writing is on the wall for natural gas.
- Clean Energy Is Canceling Gas Plants, September 30, 2020:
- Risks Outweigh Rewards for Investors Considering PJM Natural Gas Projects, October 5, 2020
The companies are shutting down the dirty plants and switching to clean energy. Politicians and legislation should focus on protecting the communities and workers affected by the closings, and on accelerating the transition to clean energy.
Pollution and CO2 Levels in Illinois have always been high and are not improving. Illinois has always been in the top ten states for total population. Similarly, emissions from fossil fuels, transportation and electricity have never fallen out of the top ten worst emitters in the US since 1980:
Illinois levels of emissions have fluctuated but largely remained high since 1980. Illinois has always ranked in the top ten states for the highest emissions.
Transportation and electricity are the cause of most of Illinois emissions:
Emissions from all fossil fuels sources have basically stayed the same over many decades:
In Illinois, the Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016 has been so successful that funding is running out. Illinois Power Agency data shows:
- $5 billion of private investment between 2017 and 2019 was contracted for wind and solar projects
- More than 14,500 new direct and indirect jobs have been added to Illinois job rolls
Unless legislation is passed in Illinois, all these gains will be lost According to the Path to 100:
- Data from the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) shows that more than 7,000 small-scale and community solar projects totaling 490 MW are already online or in development across the state (view map of solar projects and businesses here). In addition, the IPA has contracted for renewable energy credits from utility-scale wind and solar projects that are expected to drive the construction of more than 2,500 MW of new large-scale installations by 2021. Illinois uses renewable energy credits to fulfill its statutory requirement of 25% renewable energy by 2025. The current contracts will only allow the state to reach roughly 7% renewable energy by the end of 2020.
- The boom in jobs and investment, driven by the IPA’s renewable energy procurements in 2018 and 2019, will support new project construction through 2020. But funding limits in the state’s policy mean the current boom will be followed by a bust. The IPA will not procure energy in 2020 for new commercial solar, community solar or utility-scale wind and solar projects. IPA’s renewable energy procurement plan predicts the impending bust on its first page: “absent legislative changes, RPS budget limitations will constrain the ability of the Agency to conduct additional procurements or expand program capacity…”
—Path to 100
Illinoisans want clean jobs. According to the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition website: “A new poll shows that 82% of Illinois voters support the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), the comprehensive clean energy legislation that would move the state to 100% renewable energy and create thousands of good-paying jobs at a time when people and communities need them the most.”