The Daily Illini
On Sept. 15, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act into law, pledging that Illinois’ municipal power plants would be carbon-free by 2045.
This law makes Illinois the first state in the midwest to have legislation that completely moves away from carbon. As the state lessens its dependency on coal, it will provide subsidies to alternative forms of energy like solar and nuclear power.
Most of the University’s energy comes from the Abbott Power Plant located on Oak Street and Gregory Drive on the west end of campus. Abbott can use natural gas, coal or fuel oil to use power which makes it adaptable for many conditions.
Abbott is responsible for around 85% of the University’s total energy demand and around 50% of the electricity used. Even though Abbott uses fossil fuels, it will not be under the same requirements that other municipal power plants in the state will be.
“According to the legislation, Abbott Power Plant is not defined as an electric generating unit (EGU),” said Manager of Communications & External Relations with Facilities and Services Steven Breitwieser via email.
“This conclusion is because no asset in the facility has a nameplate capacity greater than 25 megawatts (MW), and the facility does not produce electricity for sale. For similar reasons, Abbott is not considered a large GHG-emitting unit due to asset capacity,” Breitwieser said.
Because of the conditions of Abbott, it is not under the same requirements that other, larger power plants are after the law was passed.
Abbott uses the best available emissions control technology and exceeds or meets all Environmental Protection Agency emission standards. Its technology removes 90% of all air pollutants, according to the Facilities and Services website.
The University is focusing on creating sustainable energy on campus by investing in building solar farms. The most recent, named Solar Farm 2.0, was completed in January.