This blog post is guest written by Elevate Energy’s Director of Policy Anne McKibbin.
A new bill in Springfield, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), could move Illinois quickly away from polluting, expensive fossil fuels by helping us save more energy and create more inexpensive renewable energy. The bill will have to pass both houses of the legislature, but Elevate Energy is excited that it would improve equity and support Illinois’ economically disadvantaged communities. The Clean Energy Jobs Act was officially introduced in the Illinois House and Senate and COO Delmar Gillus spoke at the press conference announcing the bill.
“Equity and access are at the heart of this legislation,” Delmar said. “This bill will create Clean Workforce Hubs, which provide direct training, support, and placement services for those who want to work in this growing industry.”
The Clean Energy Jobs Act would create statewide job training programs and encourage clean energy companies to hire workers from those programs to ensure community members benefit directly from the clean energy economy. A statewide small business development program would help Illinois contractors, like insulators and solar installers, grow their businesses and hire more Illinois workers.
CEJA would also lower energy costs by expanding gas energy efficiency programs and reforming the way power plants get paid. It would expand renewable energy programs, like Illinois Solar for All, that help low-income families benefit from inexpensive solar power. It would also give customers another voluntary pricing option to help them save money when they use cheaper off-peak power. Overall, the legislation would spur enough new wind and solar to power 4 million homes.
The Clean Energy Jobs Act would spur policies that complement energy efficiency and renewable energy and help reduce fossil fuel use and carbon pollution; it includes policies that support energy storage, electric vehicles and transit, and community energy planning.
The Act is the outgrowth of more than 60 listening sessions held around the state in 2018 by the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition (Elevate Energy is a member) where people were asked to provide their input on clean energy issues. Elevate Energy participated in several of these sessions, co-hosting one with affordable housing advocates to get their ideas on what should be included in a new law.
We’re excited to see more opportunities for underserved communities to benefit from the jobs, energy savings, and clean power that CEJA could create. Learn more about the bill in this fact sheet and head over to the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition website to encourage your legislator to support a just clean energy future.