On September 15, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed the Clean Energy Jobs Act into law (Public Act 102-0662), establishing Illinois as a national leader on climate action.
The historic energy package takes many important steps to fight climate change by decarbonizing the state’s energy sector, investing in clean and renewable energy sources, promoting the adoption of electric vehicles, centering equity, as well as developing the workforce across Illinois, strengthening ethics requirements in our utility industry, and protecting ratepayers.
Complete September 15, 2021 Press Release available here.
Here are some of the highlights of the new energy bill:
- Establishes a statewide goal of 100% clean energy production by 2050.
- Closes all privately held coal and oil-fired plants by 2030 as well as private natural gas plants by 2045, with an accelerated schedule for those located in environmental justice communities and those with the dirtiest emissions.
- Commissions studies on carbon pricing and carbon capture and storage as tools to combat climate change.
- Provides funding for equity and just transition programs.
Investing in Clean, Renewable Energy
- Expands funding for renewable energy sourcing and establishes equity and labor standards for renewable energy credit projects.
- Creates incentives to build solar generation and energy storage on the site of closed or closing coal plants.
- Adds new categories of solar projects eligible for state funding, including school solar, equity eligible contractors, and community-driven community solar.
Developing Illinois’ Workforce
- Creates the Illinois Climate Works Preapprenticeship Program to train workers for careers in clean energy sector construction and building trades.
- Establishes the Clean Energy Contractor Incubator Program, which provides access to low-cost capital, training, mentorship, and recruitment opportunities for small clean energy businesses and contractors.
- Creates the Returning Residents Clean Job Training Program to train soon-to-be released people who are incarcerated for jobs in the solar and energy efficiency sectors.
Promoting Electric Vehicles
- Sets state goal of one million electric vehicles adopted in Illinois by 2030.
- Uses existing funds to establish $4,000 rebate for consumers who purchase electric vehicles.
- Offers incentives to expand electric vehicle charging stations across Illinois.
Protecting Illinois Consumers
- Prohibits utilities from charging low-income residential customers late fees, charges, or penalties.
- Prohibits utilities from charging credit card fees for customer's utility bills.
- Requires utilities to publish monthly the number of disconnections for nonpayment.
- Requires the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to investigate whether ComEd misappropriated any ratepayer funds in connection with the conduct detailed in the Deferred Prosecution Agreement. If the ICC finds ComEd has done so, it must refund this money to ratepayers.
Strengthening Ethics Requirements
- Expands statement of economic interest requirements to require the disclosure of any immediate family member employed by a public utility in Illinois.
- Creates the Public Utility Ethics and Compliance Monitor and establishes new internal ethics controls for all electric and natural gas public utilities.
- Requires each utility to establish the position of a Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer who must submit annual reports to the ICC.
- Prevents utilities from recovering criminal penalties or other costs related to criminal convictions of utility employees by raising rates on consumers.
SB2408 was sent to the Governor for his signature on Tuesday, September 14th, after the Senate overwhelmingly passed the landmark energy bill on Monday night. A negotiated agreement between organized labor and environmental groups lead the way for passage of SB2408 by the Illinois House on Friday, September 9th.