On behalf of ComEd, The Chicago Community Trust has issued a request for proposals to help build a job training pipeline program to meet the anticipated demand for an expanded and qualified solar PV installation workforce. Signed into law last year, the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act is expected to drive a significant increase in solar installation across the state. But what does the Future Energy Jobs Act even mean?
The Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act is the most significant piece of climate and clean energy policy in the state’s history, and is something to know about and celebrate! The aim of the legislation is to drive a smarter and more sustainable energy future through three main areas of impact: doubling down on energy efficiency, catalyzing renewable energy, and committing to a zero emissions standard for energy production.
On the renewable energy front, Illinois, like many states, has had a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) in place since 2008, which originally set the goal of securing 25% of our energy from renewable sources by 2025. However, because there were barriers to providing steady funding to renewable developers, we had fallen way behind on our target. Thankfully, the Future Energy Jobs Act mends the broken pieces of the RPS and creates ideal conditions for a boom in wind and solar development. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, we can expect 3,000 megawatts of solar development and 1,300 megawatts of wind as a result of this change, enough to power almost 1 million homes.
In addition to spurring clean energy, the Future Energy Jobs Act is a powerful economic development driver, expected to create thousands of new clean energy-related jobs across the state. It will also ensure that low-income communities get an equitable opportunity to take advantage of the clean energy future by dedicating over $750 million to community solar projects, energy efficiency, and job training, among other programs.
As we know, implementation is everything, but the promised potential of the Future Energy Jobs Act is worth getting excited about.