Illinois lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday designed to strengthen statewide standards around energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The bill, which supporters say will boost job growth in the state's clean energy industry, is backed by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition of environmental and business groups.
Under the measure, the state's reduction target for electricity consumption in Illinois would be bumped up to 20 percent, from the current goal of 13 percent, by the year 2025. At the same time, the legislation seeks to increase the share of power that Illinois gets from naturally renewable sources, including wind and solar, to 35 percent by 2030. The state currently has a goal to obtain at least 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.
Proponents of the legislation, spearheaded by State Sens. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) and David Koehler (D-Peoria) and State Reps. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) in their respective chambers, say the standards would spur 32,000 new Illinois jobs annually after the changes are implemented.
The legislation also calls on the state to "develop a market-based approach" to meet carbon emission regulations as part of the "Clean Power Plan" proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in June. States are given flexibility under the EPA's proposed regulations to meet carbon standards.
"This bill benefits people in every part of Illinois, in our biggest cities, in suburbs, in farming communities-- anywhere where people would gain from new jobs, better health and a cleaner environment," Harmon said in a statement. "As strong as the clean energy economy is today, with 100,000 clean energy jobs throughout the state, Illinois is at a tipping point. There is no time to waste."