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Clean Jobs Legislation Maintains Momentum in Illinois

https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregondot/3049873452/in/photolist-PNtRR-a8bb4G-5FVki8-5Dr6mn-e56Sft-5Dvp83-7xGorg-9HajEF-5FZA45-5Dr5AM-aDnUMq-baP3Vr-9Hajwk-9Hdde3-9HddDQ-9duVAZ-azxqwi-5vWdqV-9HajMr-9HajAr-7F1KLB-hAP1e5-89gXDE-5Dvp4C-5BKeyv-7Pm1of-9duWjg-6mQ4Kx-2x6mJ1-afLB6B-9HddaE-9HajnK-9BV2oD-89vACi-a3XVDW-aS6Gwz-aHGbjv-6AQk5p-aS6GyX-9Hddo1-aDoWZu-bxPEVP-9HddMu-bjUNjL-auFcC7-auFd2y-9vatMw-9vaudW-9vavdq-9v7uozAt the start of the 2015 Illinois legislative session, a diverse coalition came together to introduce and support the Illinois Clean Jobs bill – legislation which would strengthen Illinois’ energy efficiency policies, as well as update and extend the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The bill would also create a market-based strategy to meet new federal carbon regulations to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants, otherwise known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

So now that the regular legislative session has ended, where does the Clean Jobs bill stand?

A victory for the little guy

Initially, the Clean Jobs bill was far from the energy legislation spotlight. Two deep-pocketed companies also introduced bills. Exelon proposed a bailout for three of its uneconomic nuclear reactors. And Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) wanted to restructure its rates to ensure a profit because efficiency and clean energy had reduced the demand for power.

Most political observers felt Exelon and ComEd – which employ teams of lobbyists and enjoy substantial political clout – would quickly obtain what they asked for. Yet neither went anywhere, and it was actually the Clean Jobs legislation that obtained more co-sponsors than the Exelon and ComEd bills – combined. Read More »

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Matching Veterans with Solar Jobs: Now that’s a Bright Idea

rp_construction-646465_640-300x200.jpgDuring the next five years, 200,000 service members will transition from active duty military to civilian life. They will need jobs. The solar industry is booming and needs skilled workers. The math is simple.

The recently announced Solar Ready Vets program aims to help transitioning service members pursue training in the solar industry, which is adding 30,000 jobs a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Solar Ready Vets will focus on the specific needs of high-growth solar employers and build on the technical skills that veterans acquired during service.  Solar Ready Vets is part of a larger DOE initiative to train 75,000 people for the solar workforce by 2020, some of whom are also veterans.

Initially, Solar Ready Vets will roll out at 10 military bases across the United States. Four bases in Colorado, California, Utah, and Virginia have been identified, and the other six will be selected based on the number of transitioning military personnel and strength of the solar market, among other things. Read More »

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Clean Energy Legislation in the Heartland Promises Jobs

Source: flickr/bobchin1941

Clean energy advocates tend to maintain a bi-coastal focus. No doubt my California and New York colleagues often see their states as the bellwethers when it comes to new policy initiatives. But, real innovation is taking place in Illinois, a state that national clean energy advocates tend only to fly over.

For the next couple of months, Illinois’ legislative session will be in full swing, giving lawmakers the chance to craft policies that redefine an electric utility, establish markets that reward clean energy, and set the foundation for the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which will put in place the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants.

The best opportunity to achieve these goals is through legislation called the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill. This legislation is backed by a broad coalition of groups that, in the past, have found themselves at odds, but are now pulling in the same direction. Read More »

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Illinois Bill Pledges More Clean Energy Jobs, Boost to Economy, and Cleaner Air

Illinois is two-for-two on clean energy wins. Today, Illinois legislators introduced a bill to spur significant new growth in the clean energy industry, creating an estimated 32,000 jobs annually across Illinois once proposed clean energy standards are fully implemented. Already a leader in America’s clean energy economy, Illinois, with this bill, would help boost the 100,000 clean energy jobs that already exist in the state, protect our children and future generations from the impacts of climate change, as well as maintain a reliable and affordable electricity system.

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Broad Coalition Coalesces for Clean Energy Jobs in Illinois

rp_iStock_Solar_Installer-300x270.jpgLabor, business, and environmental leaders have formed a unique coalition that will urge Illinois lawmakers to pass new standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy, leading to tens of thousands of new, local jobs.

Members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, including Environmental Defense Fund, argue that the state should not settle for an old stagnant energy system – one that struggles to meet new Environmental Protection Agency clean energy standards, raises electricity prices for families and businesses, and fails to create new jobs. Instead, we should move decisively toward a cleaner, more reliable, and affordable energy future that increases employment right here in Illinois.

More than 100,000 individuals across the state already work in the clean energy industry, exceeding the number employed in the state’s real estate and accounting sectors combined. That figure is growing at an impressive rate of nine to 10 percent annually. Coalition members predict even sharper job growth if lawmakers embrace their recommendations for spurring a clean energy economy in Illinois, including: Read More »

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Clean Energy and Job Creation Go Hand-in-Hand in San Antonio

Source: CPS Energy

Source: CPS Energy

While many are prophesizing the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) as doomsday for the electricity sector, Texas utilities are telling a different story. The CPP will limit – for the first time ever – carbon emissions from existing power plants. One utility in particular, CPS Energy in San Antonio, “has already embraced a low-carbon strategy that anticipates this rule,” making it the most well-positioned utility in the state, if not country.

Homegrown energy, literally

CPS Energy has excelled using its commitment to create local, clean energy jobs. In its Request for Proposal (RFP) for a 400 megawatt (MW) solar energy plant, the utility included a specification for the creation of local solar jobs. And it worked. Most recently, the utility announced the launch of the Mission Solar Energy Plant – a 240,000 square foot manufacturing plant that will employ upwards of 400 San Antonians. To assist with future expansions, CPS also helped create a program at Alamo Colleges to train its future workforce for clean energy jobs and, admirably, almost one out of every five employees is a veteran. Read More »

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