Gov. JB Pritzker signed a massive clean energy bill into law Wednesday, saving the nuclear fleet in Illinois and starting the process to decarbonize the state’s energy sector. Sponsors say it also ensures communities of color have an important role in clean energy moving forward.
Advocates and lawmakers say they’re proud to see Illinois move towards 100% clean energy by 2050. They emphasized that it is possible to address jobs and climate change at the same time.
Saving nuclear jobs, making the air cleaner, and investing in renewable jobs for the future – a large task for any state. But, Pritzker met his final campaign promise to make Illinois a model for clean energy.
“With economic growth and jobs woven into its fabric, this new law is the most significant step Illinois has taken in a generation toward a reliable, renewable, affordable, and clean energy future,” Pritzker said.
Negotiations on the energy plan hit a standstill in May and some worried the bill was dead for 2021. However, legislative leaders kept working through the summer to bring Democrats, Republicans, labor, and environmental groups to an agreement.
“Yes, I believe in the impossible,” said Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “The impossible does become possible when we all work together.”
All private coal and oil electric plants must reach zero emissions by 2030. Larger municipal plants – including the Prairie State Energy Campus in the Metro East and CWLP’s Dalman 4 in Springfield – will close by 2045 unless they reach zero carbon emissions.
The new law creates a Bill of Rights for workers needing state support once fossil fuel plants close. This law also invests over $300 million into a Coal to Solar program to help communities impacted by closures. The state will also provide funds for scholarships to children of displaced workers.