IL Senate Sends Green Energy Bill to Governor

By Benjamin Cox on September 14, 2021 at 2:31pm

The Illinois Senate passed one more hurdle for green energy legislation in the state Monday.

In a 37-17-3 vote, Senate Bill 2408 passed mostly along party lines. Governor J.B. Pritzker says he will sign the bill:

“Today, with the Senate passage of SB 2408, the State of Illinois is making history by setting aggressive standards for a 100 percent clean energy future. After years of debate and discussion, science has prevailed, and we are charting a new future that works to mitigate the impacts of climate change here in Illinois.

“SB 2408 puts the state on a path toward 100% clean energy and invests in training a diverse workforce for the jobs of the future. Illinois will become the best state in the nation to manufacture and drive an electric vehicle, and equity will be prioritized in every new program created. SB2408 puts consumers and climate at the forefront, prioritizing meaningful ethics and transparency reforms, and institutes key ratepayer and residential customer protections.

“I’d like to thank Leaders Cunningham and Hastings and Senator Villanueva for the many hours spent in working group meetings and negotiating sessions. I am proud of the collaborative work between stakeholders, Senate President Don Harmon and Speaker Welch that resulted in a package that makes meaningful progress in protecting our climate and consumers.

“I look forward to signing this historic measure into law as soon as possible, because our planet and the people of Illinois ought not wait any longer.”

50th District State Senator Steve McClure disagreed with the bill’s passage, characterizing the bill as the largest power rate hike in the history of Illinois and a job killer: “I still don’t know what this [bill] is going to cost all of us. We are hearing numbers. AARP has their numbers – $15 per month per customer. We’ve got numbers from IMA. We’ve got jobs that are obviously going to be losing here [in Illinois], and we are going to lose reliable energy. From the utilities perspective, they told the IMA that the bill would lead to an annual increase of 8-15% for industrial customers, 8-10% annual increases for commercial customers, and 5% annual hikes for residential customers.”

48th District State Senator Doris Turner voted present on the bill even after asking for clarifications on the CWLP Plant in Springfield of the bill’s sponsor Mike Hastings during floor debate. Turner commended all of the bill’s sponsors for their hard work on the bill. Turner later told WCIA: “I was concerned about the rate increases.” With so many various cost estimates, and the question about grid reliability in Springfield if the city-operated City, Water, Light, and Power coal plant goes offline, she said it was “better to err on the side of caution.”

The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition released this statement after the bill’s passage: “The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition applauds the Senate on today’s passage of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act. We are on the verge of history inIllinois, poised to take significant steps to address our climate crisis, create equitable, good-paying jobs across the state particularly in Black and Brown communities, and enact tough utility accountability measures.”

Turner and McClure’s districts encompass the majority of the listening area and all of Springfield. One of the coal-fired power plants at the heart of debate was CWLP’s Dallman plant.

Pritzker has not indicated when he will sign the bill into law.