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Kink in Illinois law leaves renewable energy funds untouched

TakeAction_enewsA fund created to support renewable energy is projected to exceed $140 million by September—but state officials don’t have the authority to touch the bulk of it.

We are asking Illinoisans to tell legislators to tweak the law so that wind and solar power can become a bigger part of Illinois’ electricity portfolio and help decrease power prices across the state.

The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law passed in 2007 requires that 25 percent of electricity come from renewable energy by 2025.  Under the law, Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES)—power suppliers that have entered the state to compete with ComEd and Ameren—are required to feed money into the Renewable Energy Resources Fund (RERF).

With the dramatic increase in ARES customers in Illinois, the fund is expected to balloon this year, which is good. For example, the money could be used by the state to buy solar power from homes and small-businesses. That’s good for the the homes and small-businesses, and it’s good for the whole state because renewable energy can make our portfolio cleaner, cheaper and more reliable. 

One big problem: The Illinois Power Agency (IPA), which manages electricity supply in the state, does not have the statutory authority to effectively spend the fund. So right now, the money is going to waste, when it could be used to reduce energy costs for consumers, create jobs, and help us build a cleaner and more reliable grid.

One of CUB’s top legislative priorities in 2014 will be to free up that money. So, please use CUB’s Action Network to tell your state legislators: Change the law, so Illinois can jump-start solar and wind for the benefit of all Illinoisans!