Ameren Illinois has introduced what it calls a transparent and achievable plan that will move Illinois closer to reaching its goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
The Downstate Clean Energy Affordability Act increases the production of lower-cost solar energy while delivering environmental and economic development benefits for customers across central and southern Illinois.
Under the plan, Ameren Illinois will invest in local renewable energy development, transportation electrification, and battery storage. It will spur economic growth by targeting renewable energy projects in rural and underserved communities in the Ameren Illinois service territory.
“Illinois needs to make meaningful progress toward a clean energy future and that requires innovation, certainty, and solutions from a partner with the track record for delivering results,” said Richard J. Mark, chairman and president, Ameren Illinois. “The Downstate Clean Energy Affordability Act increases local clean energy production while keeping costs affordable for downstate consumers. It also provides an important economic boost to our downstate communities.”
The Downstate Clean Energy Affordability Act is focused exclusively on Ameren Illinois’ service territory. The plan, according to Ameren:
– Enables the company to construct and operate local solar and battery storage facilities.
Offsets downstate customer costs by crediting the monetary value of energy and capacity from the solar and battery facilities back to Ameren Illinois customers.
– Jump starts the electric vehicle (EV) market by expanding the network of electric charging stations, and provides consumer rebates for purchase of electric vehicles and the installation of in-home charging.
– Raises the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for Ddownstate utilities to 32.5 percent by 2030 and makes state procurements of renewables for Downstate customers more efficient and cost effective – a key to reaching the state’s 100% clean energy goal.
– Continues fair and transparent performance-based ratemaking subject to annual Illinois Commerce Commission review.
– Ensures renewable investments deliver the intended results with the most benefits and the least cost to customers.
– Ameren Illinois developed the downstate energy plan to benefit communities in central and southern Illinois and to address concerns that the state is not making sufficient progress toward elimination of carbon-based energy sources by meeting the existing Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). According to the RPS, 21 percent of the state’s energy mix should be from renewable sources by 2021. Despite committing more than $1 billion on renewable projects under the 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act, only 7 percent to 8 percent renewable energy is currently under contract and the program is out of money. Other proposals being discussed ask for an additional $300 million per year indefinitely without any criteria for performance or accountability.
Ameren Illinois proposes to construct new solar and battery facilities along its existing electric distribution corridor. Spreading the projects across a diverse downstate geographic footprint will keep electricity costs affordable, enhance reliability, and help the state close the gap in its renewable goals while adding to the property tax base.
“We have the skilled union workforce, community partnerships, and access to low-cost capital needed to scale local clean energy projects quickly and do them right,” said Mark. “We have developed and tested systems needed to produce and store renewable energy, increase service reliability, and restore service during inclement weather events.”
The plan builds on Ameren Illinois’ efforts to modernize the energy grid under a transparent and stable regulatory framework that has created more than 1,400 new jobs, reduced outages, and delivered $1.7 billion in economic impact, including direct spending of more than $360 million a year with diverse suppliers.