Op-ed originally appeared in Crain’s Business Chicago on May 23.
On May 5, the Clean Energy Trust released its latest Clean Jobs Survey (“Here’s how Illinois can invest more in energy efficiency,” April 13). The survey of more than 1,100 clean energy companies and firms showed Illinois has more than 104,000 clean energy jobs in the state, a 7.8 percent increase from 15 months ago. While impressive, the 7.8 percent increase underperformed projected growth of 9 percent. When asked what was keeping them from growing, companies indicated that policies at the state level were holding them back.
The General Assembly has an opportunity to send a clear message to energy companies that Illinois is open for business by passing the Clean Jobs bill (H.B. 2607 and S.B. 1485). The bill is a response to what those of us in the business community focused on the sector know all too well: Illinois should be a regional and national leader in clean energy.
Projected to generate thousands of new jobs per year, lower electricity bills and reduce harmful pollution from power plants, the bill is the only piece of legislation looking toward the future rather than the past.
We produce more than enough energy in Illinois. As the nation transitions to a cleaner energy future, Illinois is in a strong position to weather this change.
By reducing the state’s energy demand 20 percent by 2025, the bill incentivizes the adoption of energy efficiency measures that will both save ratepayers money and create good jobs across income brackets. The bill also fixes the broken Renewable Portfolio Standard by increasing the use of renewable sources of energy 35 percent by 2030.
Clean Energy Trust