Illinois sets standards for renewable energy

Via Environmental Law & Policy Center: This has been a good week for supporters of renewable energies in Illinois. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill., signed into law a renewable energy standard that will require Illinois utilities to supply 2% of their power from renewable energy sources by 2008, 10% by 2015 and 25% by 2025. An accompanying energy efficiency portfolio standard requires utilities to reduce overall electric usage by 0.2% of demand in 2008 and 2.0% by 2015.

Wind power is expected to play a major role in new renewable energy generation in the state as utilities work toward meeting the new requirements, according to the governor’s office. Illinois is the hub for many transmission lines, making connecting new wind projects to the electricity grid more affordable than in other states, the governor’s office adds.

“The legislation will spark a surge in wind power construction and economic development in Illinois,” says Howard A. Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “More clean, renewable energy is a win-win-win – it’s good for farmers, good for rural economic development and good for the environment.”


Mendota Hills wind farm (First wind farm developed in Illinois, in 2003, by Navitas, with turbines from Gamesa)

There are now 5,500 MW of wind power in the development stage in Illinois, according to the engineering firm Black & Veatch. The AWEA database lists ten new projects, of which one is in construction and 9 in the proposal stage, with Horizon Wind Energy (EDP Group) and Navitas Energy (Gamesa) as the most active wind developers in the state (3 projects each).

The governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland, also unveiled an energy plan last week. Its cornerstone is a requirement that 25 percent of the electricity sold in Ohio by 2025 come from either renewable or so-called “advanced technology” sources (the key here being the meaning of the second part of the equation). The latter apparently stands for technologies such as “clean coal”, carbon sequestration and nuclear (so the target for purely renewable energies comes out as a less ambitious goal than in the Illinois case, a mere 12.5%).

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