- The Illinois Power Agency (IPA) on Thursday issued its draft long-term renewables procurement plan, covering procurements and programs through 2020 and 2021.
- IPA needs an additional 500,000 renewable energy certificates (RECs) from rooftop and community solar by 2025, but currently does not have the necessary budget, according to Andrew Barbeau, president of The Accelerate Group and senior consultant to the Environmental Defense Fund.
- IPA Director Anthony Star has warned the state's energy consumption may only be 10% renewable by 2025, rather than the 25% goal Illinois is trying to reach.
Illinois is not on pace to reach its renewable portfolio standard (RPS) goals, and experts say a legislative fix may be required.
"The Illinois Power Agency has confirmed what folks have been discussing for a while now: that Illinois' renewable energy boom is facing a four to five year halt unless we pass a bill this Fall in the legislative veto session," Barbeau told Utility Dive.
There is an estimated $197 million that will no longer be available for renewables development after May 2021, because of a provision in the Future Energy Jobs Act that allows unspent funds to be returned, according to Barbeau.
The $197 million has been held over multiple years to get the programs up and running, Barbeau said. "But delays in the program development mean that it will expire before we get to use it."
The Power Authority plans to finalize its renewables plan by December, and Barbeau said lawmakers could pass legislation in October or November that would address the budget shortfall.
"RPS budget limitations will constrain the ability of the Agency to conduct additional procurements or expand program capacity for its Adjustable Block Program," according to IPA's renewables strategy. "Therefore, this draft Revised Plan provides a general framework for changes to procurements and programs should additional funding become available."
The IPA was formed a dozen years ago to procure power for the state's utilities. Its renewable energy plan is updated every two years.
IPA has already procured 1.9 million RECs from utility scale wind, and 2 million from utility scale solar. A low income community solar pilot procurement, for delivery in 2021, was approved in IPA's initial plan and is still on the horizon.
Comments on the draft plan are due Sept. 16.