As Illinois’ Renewable Energy Crisis Deepens, Study Shows Path to 100 Legislation Would Create More than 50,000 New Wind and Solar Energy Jobs

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Legislative leaders call to pass Path to 100 Act to fix clean energy crisis and create economic growth

Fixing Illinois’ renewable energy program is low-hanging fruit for the General Assembly and should be a top priority – we have a proven way to create jobs, benefit consumers and reduce pollution as well as a backlog of projects that could provide a rapid economic stimulus across the state.

Illinois legislators and renewable energy businesses are calling for urgent action to save the state’s solar and wind energy jobs, and a new economic analysis shows that the proposed Path to 100 Act would not only save current jobs but would create more than 50,000 new jobs and $8.7 billion in increased economic output by 2033.

On December 4th, the Illinois Power Agency announced the close of state renewable energy incentives for residents in central and southern Illinois. With funding expected to disappear in northern Illinois in coming days, Illinois’ renewable energy program will abruptly end before the end of this year. The end of incentives will immediately impact the ability of homeowners and businesses to go solar and will force thousands of layoffs at solar businesses across the state in the coming months.

Senator Bill Cunningham and Representative Will Davis introduced the Path to 100 Act in early 2019 to address Illinois’ looming renewable energy crisis. The Path to 100 Act would improve and expand Illinois’ existing renewable energy program to allow the state to reach 40% renewable energy by 2030.

A new economic impact analysis of the Path to 100 Act found that, by 2033, the legislation would result in:

  • 53,298 jobs created or supported during construction
  • 3,215 jobs created or supported annually during operations
  • $8.27 billion in increased economic output during construction
  • $571 million per year in increased economic output during operations

The analysis was conducted by Dr. David Loomis. Loomis is the co-founder of the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University and the President of Strategic Economic Research and has over 20 years of experience in energy and economic development analysis.

“Fixing Illinois’ renewable energy program is low-hanging fruit for the General Assembly and should be a top priority – we have a proven way to create jobs, benefit consumers and reduce pollution as well as a backlog of projects that could provide a rapid economic stimulus across the state,” said Representative Will Davis, House Sponsor of the Path to 100 Act. “There is no reason to delay fixing this.”

“While we work toward comprehensive energy legislation, the General Assembly needs to act to keep our renewable energy industry alive here in Illinois,” said Senator Bill Cunningham, Sponsor of the Path to 100 Act. “It’s clear that supporting renewable energy will create a better future for our state.”

“The solar industry in Illinois warned for years that we were facing a funding cliff, and now we’ve gone over the edge,” said Lesley McCain, Executive Director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. “Hundreds of small and mid-sized businesses are at risk of shutting down or laying off workers now. But we know that passing Path to 100 will fix this problem and create more than 50,000 new jobs. We need the General Assembly to take action.”

"As the third fastest-growing state in the country for new wind and solar generation, Illinois is poised to become a leader in job creation and economic growth from clean energy with the right policies in place," said Jeff Danielson, Central Region Director for the American Wind Energy Association. "To realize that potential, we need certainty from state government – about the future of renewable energy and our ability to build projects and invest in communities."

The full report is available here
An infographic of the report’s findings is available here
A recording of the press conference is available here – to view, use passcode: z=Umt3.x

Path to 100 is supported by renewable energy organizations working to create jobs in Illinois. For more information, visit http://www.pathto100.net.

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Peter Gray
@Path_to_100
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