CHICAGO (December 7, 2016) – The BlueGreen Alliance today applauded the signing the Future Energy Jobs Bill (SB 2814). The bill was passed by Illinois General Assembly during its veto session and received bipartisan support in both chambers. It provides sweeping changes to the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and increases state efforts to boost energy efficiency, while protecting the jobs of workers at current energy generation facilities in the state.
“The bill protects workers at current plants, while simultaneously moving our state forward in terms of clean energy and energy efficiency,” said Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan. “The labor and the environmental movements worked hand-in-hand throughout this process to push for a bill that was both fair to workers and forward-thinking when it comes to addressing climate change.”
“We’re proud to stand with union members from around the state to fight for a better future for the people of Illinois,”said Jack Darin, chapter director for the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter. “No large bill negotiation is perfect, but we support the end result that will create and sustain quality jobs for workers, while recognizing and addressing the threat of climate change. We look forward to working with our partners in labor to grow the clean energy economy in Illinois.”
A report from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) found that in 2013 more than 96,000 people worked in the state’s clean energy sector but that policy challenges have weighed down growth. While other Midwest states’ clean energy sector job growth is booming, renewable energy jobs in the state had declined.
“This bill is a great example of how doing right by our environment can create and sustain quality jobs in our state,” said Illinois Pipe and Trade Association Legislative and Political Director Rick Terven, Jr. “This effort wasn’t always easy, but together we advocated for a bill that included common sense policies that will benefit the people of our state economic and environmentally.”
The bill will fix the state’s RPS and increase investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency—including investments low-income communities. Advocates said that the RPS change would provide more market surety for companies and that it will jumpstart renewable energy projects in the state.
“Efforts to address climate change can be a catalyst for family-sustaining job creation and we feel this bill takes the right approach to achieve that goal,” said Dick Breckenridge, regional program manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “We applaud the efforts of policymakers of both parties to make this work. This effort will help ensure Illinois can begin to lead the way in the region in terms of renewable energy generation and clean economy jobs.”