Illinois Commerce Commission approves detailed roadmap to reach 40% renewables by 2030

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved the Illinois Power Agency’s proposal on July 14 2022 Long Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan (LTRRPP). The 2022 plan has been developed in accordance with the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), the landmark climate justice and energy bill passed last fall. This decision comes after the Environmental Law & Policy Center, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Vote Solar intervened in the role and filed comments calling for improvements to low-income solar programs, structural adjustments to renewable energy procurement and follow-up. -up of CEJA’s Equity Provisions.

The ICC is responsible for ensuring that Ameren Illinois Company (Ameren), Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd), and MidAmerican Energy Company (MidAmerican) purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) for RPS compliance obligations. That RPS has recently expanded to 40% renewable energy by 2030 thanks to CEJA – a long way from the current renewable energy percentage of around 8%. The LTRRPP provides a pathway to compliance.

“Our move to renewable energy needs to be fast, safe and reliable — and available to everyone, not just those who can afford it,” said Erica McConnel, a staff attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “This plan is shaky, technical and very, very weedy, but it’s essential to translate CEJA’s promises into Illinois’ future.”

The plan outlines how the state will expand its low-income solar program, Illinois Solar for All, with a committed $70 million now available each year. This program is designed to provide solar energy to low-income customers and facilities with critical needs, such as non-profit organizations and public utilities, at no upfront cost and with mandatory energy savings. The plan also creates two new pilot programs for the Illinois Solar for All program, improving the state’s ability to deliver solar energy savings to low-income households. One pilot program will help pay for electrical and roof repairs needed for some low-income families to install rooftop solar. The other program will create a better user experience for low-income clients and property developers by streamlining onboarding and lowering customer acquisition costs.

“After several years in which the Illinois Solar for All residential program fell short of its goals, the new plan provides the incentives and structure needed for more than a thousand low-income families to realize significant solar savings each year. said Midwest executive director John Delurey. at Stem Solar. “The $70 million per year for low-income targeted solar installations will reduce energy costs and increase energy resilience for families, nonprofits and low-income communities across the state.”

The plan also provides structure and guidance for the 667 megawatts of distributed solar energy that CEJA will enable through the Adjustable Block Program. In addition to expansions of the three existing sub-programs – one for small roof projects, one for large roof projects and one for community solar – the plan informs the creation of three new sub-programs that CEJA requires. The new Community-Driven Community Solar program ensures community involvement and ownership in community solar programs, the Public Schools program creates new opportunities for schools to pursue solar savings, and the Equity Eligible Contractor program provides designated funding and additional support for underprivileged companies to develop solar projects.

Furthermore, the LTRRPP establishes formal processes for CEJA’s labor and standards – including applicable wage requirements and minimum diversity and equity benchmarks for all renewable energy projects. IPA will maintain additional stakeholder engagement to refine the requirements.

“This plan is the roadmap to achieve our renewable energy goals,” said Toba Pearlman, senior attorney and renewable energy advocate at NRDC. “We are ready and excited to see CEJA build more clean energy.”

The LTRRPP serves as a guide to the implementation and application of CEJA. Now, program implementers will take the plan and make a detailed proposal on how renewable energy developers and customers can participate in the incentive programs. The IPA also has 60 days to submit a compliance file based on the plan. The Illinois Adjustable Block Program and Solar for All Program incentives will reopen in the fall, likely in September.

News item from Vote Solar

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