The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) was passed into law on Sep 15th as a landmark bill that prioritizes renewable energy investment in Illinois through the 2020’s, on a pathway to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050. There are many implications and opportunities for organizations looking for predictable and lucrative returns while addressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. This is the most opportune time for Illinois facility operators to adopt clean energy strategies.
In order to meet carbon reduction goals, nuclear energy is a “must have” technology, at least as it stands today. Exelon, parent company of ComEd- the state’s largest utility and primary service provider to the Chicago-land area, was on the verge of shutting down two of its nuclear facilities in Dresden and Byron due to a lack of sufficient funding. This bill provides up to $700MM in funding for nuclear facilities, some of which may be matched by federal dollars.Recent extreme weather events were also on the minds of state officials. At the bill signing Governor Pritzker remarked on historic disasters over the past two and half years including polar vortexes, flooding, record lake levels, heat waves, all of which resulted in emergency declarations in more than a third of Illinois counties. In 2016 the state passed the Future Energy Jobs Act which allocated funding for residents, businesses, municipalities and other organizations to adopt clean energy. The primary problem was a lack of ongoing funding, which created a boom and bust for the solar industry, putting thousands of jobs in limbo.As part of the Climate & Equitable Jobs Act, this funding is set on a more sustainable pathway, with funding allocations in place through 2030. Other aspects of the bill include a focus on marginalized communities and entrepreneurs of color, as well as jobs training and placement for fossil fuel workers as those facilities retire across the state. There will be significant investment into utility-scale clean energy projects, but how does the bill affect Illinois organizations and how can they get in on the action?
The primary incentive program for solar and renewable projects is the Adjustable Block Program (ABP), which is curated by the Illinois Power Agency. With the new bill the ABP is fully funded for the next decade, with allocations specifically for organizations and public entities.
Onsite solar projects, located on roofs, on the ground, or on carports, have an allocation of at least 100 megawatts DC per year. This is the best ROI opportunity for organizations.
Community Solar allows residents and organizations to participate in offsite solar projects, in instances where they either can’t or don’t want panels installed on their homes or buildings.
New Energy Equity is proud to have advocated for this bill over the last several years alongside many other stakeholders. We help our clients analyze, prioritize and adopt solar strategies across their portfolio of properties. The popularity of these programs will only increase so it is critical to start the evaluation process in order to benefit from upcoming rounds of the Adjustable Block Program.
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