Energy Exchange

Clean energy bill is key to reinvigorating Illinois’ post-COVID economy

When the Illinois General Assembly met last week, lawmakers addressed the COVID-19 crisis among other priorities. This is, above all, a public health crisis and a human tragedy. More than 100,000 people in the state have been infected with this virus, and heartbreakingly more than 4,000 Illinoisans have lost their lives to it. We salute all of those working to combat this insidious virus.

Of course, the crisis also extends to our economy. Unemployment numbers rival those of the Great Depression. Businesses are fighting to stay afloat. Households face tough choices to afford essentials like rent, utilities and groceries.

A plan to stimulate the economy is urgently needed. Yet, the approach we take will have lasting implications. State leaders need to act quickly — but with an eye toward the years and decades ahead.

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Posted in CEJA, Clean Energy, Electricity Pricing, Illinois / Comments are closed

Illinois’ Clean Energy Jobs Act puts people and climate first

Last week was a big one for Illinois energy advocacy. Hundreds of activists from around the state descended on the Capitol to rally and knock on legislators’ doors to persuade them to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act now. Then, the Illinois House and Senate each held hearings where EDF and our partners in the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition spoke with legislators to share a similar message: Momentum for clean energy legislation is picking up and CEJA is the only comprehensive piece of legislation on the table that protects both the environment and consumers’ pocketbooks.

In 2016, Illinois took bold action through the Future Energy Jobs Act, embracing of wind, solar and energy efficiency. By enacting this law, Illinois put itself on the front lines of the clean energy revolution.

However, transforming the energy sector is an ever-evolving, momentous task. It cannot be addressed in one fell swoop.

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Posted in CEJA, Clean Energy, Illinois / Comments are closed

Decision by federal regulators underscores urgency of passing Illinois’ Clean Energy Jobs Act

On several occasions, we have argued that Illinois leaders should act swiftly to adopt the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Now, we see renewed evidence that the legislation needs to be adopted quickly to defend Illinois customers from skyrocketing electricity prices and protect the environment from dangerous pollution. Indeed, the clock is ticking if Illinois leaders want to prevent such an outcome.

After more than a year awaiting a decision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today issued an order that pertains to PJM Interconnection’s capacity market. This market was created to ensure there is enough power reserves in the region spanning portions of Illinois, 12 other states and the District of Columbia to maintain reliability during extreme weather or other unplanned events.

Illinoisans may not realize it, but in addition paying for the energy they use, they also pay for power to be on standby for extreme events, like a polar vortex or heat wave. But they’re about to pay a lot more under this new ruling from FERC — both in electricity bills and environmental health costs.

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Posted in CEJA, Clean Energy, Illinois / Comments are closed

Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act will improve the state’s economic climate

The Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act is one of the most ambitious climate bills in the country, but it is also a jobs and economic improvement bill. Most legislation gets mired down in talk of price tags, but with CEJA the better question is — how much will the Illinois economy benefit from its passage?

A recent study developed by The Accelerate Group measured the economic impact of CEJA and found the answer — it’s tens of billions of dollars. The new economic impact report released by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition shines a light on just how much CEJA would contribute to the state’s economy. Here’s the bottom line: the legislation, if enacted, would result in $39 billion in new private investment in Illinois through 2030.

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Posted in CEJA, Clean Energy, Illinois / Comments are closed

Illinois PUC decision may signal changing tide for natural gas utilities

While economic and environmental concerns have driven significant electric sector improvements, climate impacts of continued reliance on natural gas for heating and cooking has gone largely unchecked. A recent decision by the Illinois Commerce Commission sends a signal that natural gas utilities will not be permitted to invest customer dollars unchecked.

State public utilities commissions regulate natural gas distribution utilities and set their rates of return, one component of which is “return on equity.” These regulators thus have a tremendous influence on the long-term profitability of utilities and their investment decisions. Higher rates of return incentivize greater system buildout — the more the utility builds, the greater their profit.

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Posted in Air Quality, Illinois, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

New time-of-use program empowers Illinois consumers to lower bills, reduce carbon footprint

In early October, the Illinois Commerce Commission approved a new electricity rate that holds tremendous opportunity — a time-of-use rate option for customers of Commonwealth Edison Company, the largest utility in the state. This new pricing structure has the potential to lower bills for consumers, while reducing our reliance on dirty sources of power.

After five years of fighting for a TOU rate in Illinois, EDF and the Citizens Utility Board helped design the voluntary new option for customers, which includes three pricing periods for residential customers: Super Peak (2pm-7pm), Off Peak (10pm-6am) and Peak (all other times), with prices being highest during the Super Peak, and lowest during Off Peak. The pilot will serve residential customers and target electric vehicle owners, whose usage is typically higher but more flexible. The time-of-use option is similar to real-time pricing currently available (also on a voluntary basis) in Illinois, but with distinct, pre-determined pricing periods rather than fluctuating hour by hour as real-time prices do.

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Posted in Clean Energy, Illinois, Time of Use / Comments are closed