As Illinois environmental groups push for
expanded renewable energy use, they will inevitably engage in some
political give-and-take with traditional suppliers. A prime example is
some dealmaking led by the Sierra Club almost three years ago. In that
case, the nonprofit ...
As Illinois environmental groups push for expanded renewable energy use, they will inevitably engage in some political give-and-take with traditional suppliers. A prime example is some dealmaking led by the Sierra Club almost three years ago. In that case, the nonprofit agreed not to oppose a new Dallman 4 coal-fired plant if the Springfield utility company City Water Light and Power's (CWLP) made other environmental concessions like purchasing wind power and reducing air pollution, mercury, and global warming emissions.
Ironically, while the deal put the Prairie State on the map as a wind purchaser, none of that wind power ever came through Springfield (home to the acrimonious negotiations). But that's about to change. Today, CWLP's largest customer, the state of Illinois, is agreeing to power up all of its 150 state buildings in the Capitol with the wind purchased as a result of the Sierra Club's efforts. The State Journal Register reports on the 10-year agreement that Gov. Pat Quinn and Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin are signing off on this afternoon:
“This agreement allows the state to carry out an obligation made by the previous administration to convert all CMS-managed buildings in Springfield to 100 percent wind power," [Quinn’s office said in a statement Monday evening]
“It will ultimately decrease our reliance on petroleum, reduce our carbon emissions and improve our electrical efficiency while reducing consumption.”
Since 2006, the Sierra Club has considered the agreement a major milestone because it was the first time a U.S. utility had agreed to cut greenhouse gases and set emission reduction targets under standards of the Kyoto Protocol. It also officially marked Illinois' major foray into the wind market; the state has become the eighth largest wind producer nationwide in just three short years. And at Wind Power 2009, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) conference held in Chicago this weekend, state officials plan to position Illinois for more growth.
Image used under a Creative Commons license by Flickr user Rosa Say.