CHICAGO, Aug. 2 LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire — Last week, the Illinois
General Assembly approved the Rate Relief and Reform Package, which in
addition to saving consumers money, will reduce global warming pollution
and bring new jobs and income to Illinois. That’s because the Rate Bill
included a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) and an Energy Efficiency
Portfolio Standard (EEPS) that are among the most aggressive in the nation.
The RES will require Illinois utilities to supply 2% of their power
from renewable energy sources by 2008, 10% by 2015, and 25% by 2025. It
will put Illinois in a strong position to take advantage of the huge
environmental benefits and economic potential that renewable energy-most
specifically, wind power-offers in Illinois. The EEPS will require Illinois utilities to reduce their delivery load by increasing amounts ranging from 0.2% of demand in 2008 up to 2.0% by 2015. It will effectively stop electricity load growth in Illinois by 2013.
The Illinois Senate unanimously passed these renewable energy and
efficiency provisions earlier this session as the Affordable, Clean Energy Standards Act (S.B. 1184), championed by State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak
Park). “We are very grateful to Senator Harmon and Representative Graham
for working tirelessly to advance the cause of clean energy, and to
Attorney General Madigan, Senate President Jones and Speaker Madigan for
supporting clean energy during the rate negotiations,” said Jonathan
Goldman, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council.
“These clean energy measures will help cut power bills long after we
have spent this year’s rebates, and they will make deep cuts in the
pollution that causes ozone action days and leads to global warming,” said Jack Darin, director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter. “The agreement
is truly a win- win for our wallets and our health, and sets an example for America to follow as Washington prepares to debate future energy policies
for our nation.”
The RES will ensure that Illinois develops renewable energy, such as
wind power. Illinois has enough wind power capacity to be a national
leader, and wind generation is currently the world’s fastest growing energy source. Illinois is a hub for transmission lines, making connecting new
wind projects to the electricity grid more affordable than in other states.
There are now 5,500 megawatts of wind power in the development pipeline in Illinois, according to the Black and Veatch engineering firm’s analysis.
That’s enough energy to power 1.7 million homes.
“Developing wind power, a ‘no-CO2’ energy source, can help to solve our global warming problems,” said Howard A. Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Renewable energy is good for farmers, good for rural economic development and good for the environment.
Furthermore, implementing robust energy efficiency programs will provide
long-term bill savings for Illinois ratepayers while improving the
The EEPS will effectively stop electricity load growth in Illinois by
2013. The EEPS is expected to save customers approximately $2 billion per
year by 2020 through reduced energy spending. Furthermore, the EEPS is
projected to avoid 37 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year by
“As a facilitator of energy efficiency solutions in the Midwest, we are excited about Senator Harmon’s programs as they will provide immediate and long-term savings to Illinois consumers and businesses by giving them tools to make smarter energy choices,” said Alecia Ward, president of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.
“Energy efficiency not only provides electric bill relief for Illinois customers, but as the bill savings compound, our environment gets cleaner
and cleaner,” said Rebecca Stanfield, director of Environment Illinois.
“Combined with the state’s first renewable energy standard, this bill
represents a major step toward a smarter, cleaner energy future.”