Illinois climate bill to support nearly 10GW of solar PV by 2030

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A recently completed community solar project in Illinois. Image: Pivot Energy.

The Senate of Illinois has passed legislation that will commit the US state to reaching 50% renewables by 2040 and 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045.

Dubbed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, the bill also includes a 40% interim renewable energy target by 2030 that is expected to support the construction of more than 4GW of utility-scale PV and 5.8GW of rooftop and community solar, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). 

The trade body said the legislation “puts Illinois at the forefront of the fight against climate change” and will provide more than US$1 billion in electricity bill savings for consumers.

Three years in the making, the bill will see the Illinois Power Agency will procure around 2.5 million new renewable energy credits (RECs) by June 2022 and 3.8 million new RECs per year between 2022 and 2030. According to SEIA, the act “guarantees that renewable energy growth will create tens of thousands” of union jobs in Illinois.

Included in the legislation is a Coal to Solar and Storage Initiative that will make US$280.5 million available to energy storage projects installed at the sites of certain retiring coal plants in the state.

It was also revealed that the Senate voted to provide US$700 million in subsidies to Exelon over the next five years to keep two nuclear plants running. According to the company, more than 60% of Illinois’ electricity consumption currently comes from its six nuclear plants in the state.

The energy bill now heads to the desk of state Governor J.B. Pritzker, who said he looks forward to signing the measures into law as soon as possible, adding: “After years of debate and discussion, science has prevailed, and we are charting a new future that works to mitigate the impacts of climate change here in Illinois.”

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