In the past weeks, activities within every arm of the Illinois Government structure have been trailing towards a historic result. The Illinois House passed the historic Climate and Equitable Jobs Act – a bill that makes Illinois the first Midwest state to require 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045.
A week after the bill was passed by the House, the Illinois Senate followed suit by passing the bill putting the ball directly into Governor Pritzker’s court which he signed into law on Wednesday, 15th September 2021.
“We can’t outrun or hide from climate change, there is no time to lose. But what we can and must do, is the fight to stop and even reverse the damage that’s been done to our climate. As of today, Illinois is a force for good, for an environmental future we can be proud of.” Pritzker said after signing the bill into law.
The clean energy bill will establish a $4,000 electric vehicle credit for everyone in Illinois and give up to an 80 percent rebate for the build-up of the charging stations.
What does this piece of legislation mean for sustainability in Illinois, and by extension, the entire nation?
- The bill puts Illinois on a path to 100% clean energy, and delivers carbon-free power by 2045: It is one thing to talk about achieving clean and sustainable energy and another to steer the society through actionable political moves towards achieving this goal. The bill puts Illinois on a feasible path to achieving 100% clean energy and a carbon-free energy sector by the year 2045.
- Sets the ground for other states to follow suit: For many years now, throughout the country, the discussion for clean energy and sustainability has been floating around through different platforms, but surprisingly, political actions towards a sustainable future have not matched as much discussion traction as the subject has gained. This historic bill would most likely be the little stone that starts an avalanche in the American political mountain. This bill will most likely be replicated to varying degrees in other states in the coming years, and ultimately at the federal level in no very distant future.
- It creates thousands of good-paying jobs, especially in communities most impacted by climate change: Pritzker remarked this legislation will serve with investments in workforce hubs and a path to prosperity for minority contractors and Illinoisans living in environmental justice communities. This smoothens the path for minority sustainable contractors, creates more funding opportunities for innovative sustainable projects that will help improve environmental justice in communities where it is most needed. It also signals to the world that Illinois is open to doing business with stable long-term financing to support this position.
Summarily, this legislation has economic growth intrinsically woven into its foundational fabrics. It is a significant step towards a reliable, renewable, affordable, and clean energy future for the present and coming generations of Illinoisians.
- Reduces pollution at the scale science demands, and holds utility companies accountable for corruption: Following the science involves making moves that put our society on the path to achieve results recommended by scientific findings to be the answer to optimal solutions. This legislation more than anything demonstrates the willingness of Illinois to follow ‘the science’ not just through political rhetorics and promises but delivers in terms of actionable political moves that guarantee the much-needed result.
In conclusion, The Clean Energy Bill has demonstrated Illinois to be on a trajectory to desired a future and sheds light on the future of energy, construction, job, and workforce development in the State.