Clean energy backers lay out case before state senate panel
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee held a hearing Thursday on Senate Bill 1585 – the Next Generation Energy Plan – legislation designed to drive Illinois’ clean energy future while saving and creating jobs and strengthening the state’s economy.
An outgrowth of months of ongoing discussions between Exelon Generation, ComEd, and members of the Clean Jobs Coalition, the Next Generation Energy Plan attempts to advance the goals of a host of stakeholders by delivering clean energy, jumpstarting solar development, nearly doubling energy efficiency, providing for $1 billion in low-income assistance, and securing the future of Illinois’ nuclear plants.
Labor leaders, low-income advocates, community leaders, and grid security experts attended the hearing to advocate for the bill, while key leaders within the Clean Jobs Coalition voiced support for important aspects of SB1585 and for a path forward for this comprehensive energy bill for the state.
“After months of sitting at the table with members of the Clean Jobs Coalition, listening and responding to their interests, I was encouraged to see our responsiveness and openness acknowledged during today’s hearing,” said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president, Governmental and Community Affairs, ComEd. “Ever since SB1585 was filed last month, we have had productive conversations on the remaining open issues regarding the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, and we remain hopeful this bill can be passed shortly to drive our state’s clean energy future while saving and creating clean jobs.”
“Illinois needs a comprehensive energy strategy that will help retain and grow jobs, contribute to a robust economy, reduce harmful air emissions and grow renewable energy — while providing funding for those most in need,” said Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago. “I commend my colleague Sen. Don Harmon, sponsor of the Clean Jobs Bill, for his leadership toward ensuring the great progress made by all parties has a path forward in the General Assembly. This bill is the right framework to help our state build on its clean energy leadership and maintain our nuclear fleet. I know that there are important issues that are still unresolved, and I pledge to work with all interested stakeholders to pass legislation to ensure Illinois’ energy future remains bright.”
“I urge the members of the Illinois General Assembly to take up and pass the Next Generation Energy Plan before the end of the spring. Thousands of Illinois workers are counting on you — the General Assembly — to protect our jobs,” said Michael Carrigan, president, Illinois AFL-CIO. “The AFL-CIO stands ready to work to pass energy legislation that will both preserve our energy industry job base in Illinois as well as position our great state to take advantage of future opportunities for growth.”
“We thank Senators Trotter, Harmon, and Lightford for their leadership and efforts to bring diverse interests together to enact legislation that will support clean energy for Illinois families and businesses,” said Joe Dominguez, executive vice president, Governmental and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy, Exelon. “We also commend the leadership of Chairperson Hunter, Minority Spokesperson Rezin, and their committee colleagues for the discussion and debate regarding this important policy initiative. We support this bill because it ensures that the Quad Cities and Clinton nuclear power plants, which employ thousands of highly skilled workers and produce reliable, zero emission electricity, remain a vital part of Illinois’ economy and communities in which they operate.”
For more information or to read the testimony, visit www.NextGenerationEnergyPlan.com.