- The Clean Jobs Coalition of labor, business, environmental, and ratepayer advocacy groups headed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel(D) is pushing Illinois legislators to increase the state’s 25% renewables mandate to 35% by 2030 and up the state’s targeted 2025 electricity consumption reduction from 13% to 20%.
- Chicago-based Exelon, not part of the coalition, has called for an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy and is pushing state legislators to include nuclear power in the revised mandate so it will not be forced to shutter three of its six Illinois nuclear facilities. Nuclear power is increasingly unable to compete in the electricity market with low cost natural gas generation and fuel-free wind generation.
- Exelon argues that meeting the Clean Power Plan’s goal of a 30% reduction of greenhouse gases from 2005 levels by 2030 will be challenging for Illinois without nuclear generation, but members of Mayor Emanuel’s coalition say emissions can be cut with ramped up energy efficiency and new renewables.
Over half the electricity produced in Illinois is from coal, natural gas, and renewables. Illinois has been slow to meet its renewables mandate because wording in the Illinois Power Agency Act, corrected temporarily last spring, restricted renewables and REC purchases by the the Illinois Power Agency to only ComEd and Ameren Illinois customers.
Those utilities have no need for new generation because much of their ratepayer base moved to new providers of lower cost electricity in Illinois’s deregulated market.
The Illinois legislature approved HB 2427 in June. It made $30 million paid into the Renewable Energy Resources Fund by alternative electricity suppliers in the deregulated market available for renewables.
Efforts by the Clean Jobs Coalition and Exelon are directed at the legislature’s work to permanently revise the mandate and permit renewables purchases for all Illinois’ ratepayers.