Friday, March 04, 2005

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich proposes green energy plan.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich used his recent State of the State address to outline one of the nation's most ambitious renewable energy prgrams, calling for Illinois utilities to generate at least 8 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2012.

The Governor's proposed Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) would require 2 percent renewable energy from all electric utilities by 2006. The level would increase 1 percent annually to 8 percent by 2012. This would translate to some 4,000 MW of power generated by renewable sources by 2012, enough to serve nearly 1,000,000 Illinois households. At least 75 percent of renewable energy - or 3,000 MW - would be generated by wind power.

"While our energy needs continue to grow, we remain dependent on imported energy sources such as coal and natural gas to power our homes and businesses," Blagojevich said. "The Renewable Portfolio Standard proposal will increase our use of Illinois' untapped renewable natural resources like wind power. Boosting our use of clean, renewable, homegrown energy will put Illinois on a path toward greater energy security."

The Governor's Illinois Sustainable Energy Plan also calls for an Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard that would lead to greater investment by electric utilities in programs that save energy.

"Upgrading heating and cooling systems and replacing inefficient lights and appliances with less power hungry equipment will slow the growth of our energy use and help lower energy bills for businesses and families across Illinois," Blagojevich said. "Investing in energy efficiency will not only save money but will help prevent blackouts by taking pressure of the grid."

The proposal could generate more than $2 billion in investments in Illinois, creating about 2,000 construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs. It has been endorsed by environmental groups as well as by Illinois' two largest utilities.

This project is a model for people interested in both renewable energy and the reduction of greenhouse gas admissions. The state level appears to be where pressure can actively pay off.


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