The Illinois Senate returns to the Capitol today to vote on the green energy bill.
Senate Bill 2408 passed on an 83-33 vote Thursday despite concerns from central and southern Illinois lawmakers where communities would lose jobs and face future power shortages.
The bill intends to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050 in the state and hopes to reduce coal-fired power plants by 2045. The bill sets a goal of 2040 for 50% of Illinois’ electricity to come from “renewable” energy sources such as wind and solar power. According to the State Journal Register, these sources now only provide 10% of the state’s power.
Opponents say by saving thousands of northern Illinois jobs in nuclear plants that are receiving a $700 million subsidy, the bill would mean the loss of more than 1,000 jobs by the premature closure of coal-fired plants operated by CWLP and at Prairie State.
87th District Representative Tim Butler said during floor debate on Thursday that downstate communities would be forced to rely on energy produced in other states burning fossil fuels. This could mean incredible downsizing at the Prairie State plant, which helps operate several of the state’s rural electric cooperatives.
The bill is expected to pass along party lines later today.