Illinois Passes Nation-Leading Climate and Equitable Jobs Act
On September 15, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed historic clean energy legislation, known as the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). Among many things, the CEJA requires Illinois to achieve a 100% carbon-free power sector by 2045, becoming the first Midwestern state to commit to ending the use of fossil fuels.
Highlights of this landmark legislation are below:
1. 100% Decarbonization of Illinois Energy Grid by 2045
The CEJA requires all municipal coal and natural gas plants to become carbon-free by 2045. While no one is sure how these fossil-fuel plants can realistically achieve this goal, they have 24 years to figure it out. This requirement also extends to the Prairie State coal plant, the 7th largest carbon polluter in the country, which must also reduce emissions by at least 45% by 2038. The CEJA also outlines a $47M annual investment to convert coal-fired plants to solar or energy storage facilities.
2. An Annual Investment of $580M in Renewable Energy Generation Growth
Currently, less than 10% of Illinois’ energy is generated by wind and solar. Through this legislation, Illinois will invest $580M annually to achieve 40% of all generation from wind and solar by 2030 and 50% by 2040. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that the state would need to double wind capacity, add over 4,000 MWs of new utility-scale solar, as well as install an additional 5,000 MW of rooftop and community solar to meet the 40% target by 2030.
3. $700M Bailout for Exelon’s Nuclear Power Plants
Exelon threatened to close some of its nuclear power plants if the state did not step in and provide some financial assistance. The CEJA outlines a payment plan over the next five years totaling just under $700M. The amount of these payments could be reduced if the plants receive federal subsidies.
4. Electric Vehicle Incentives
Illinois will offer $4,000 rebates to residents who purchase an electric vehicle (EV), as well as cover up to 80% of the costs to install EV charging stations. The legislation establishes a goal to have one million EVs in Illinois by 2030. The intent is to reduce the amount of air pollution within Illinois’ transportation sector, which is the state’s largest source of carbon emissions.
5. Expand Economic Opportunities for Disadvantaged Communities
The CEJA adds $80M in annual funding for programs that support workers and contractors in disadvantaged communities. The goal is to create jobs across all sectors of the clean energy industry in Illinois, including 16 new workforce training hubs throughout the state.
Overall, the CEJA is great news for renewable developers and contractors alike, as well as a promising step forward in the fight for a clean energy future. The CEJA is an example of what it takes for a state to become a nationwide leader on climate, equity, and community support while transitioning away from fossil fuels.