HB 3328/SB1879 Offers a Comprehensive Plan for Illinois’ Energy Future
Proposal Expands Access to Clean Energy Options, Creates Jobs and Provides More Customer Choice
While the rest of the United states is skating around the issue, on March 19 Legislation HB3328/SB1879 was introduced in the Illinois General Assembly to expand support for renewable energy in the state and ensure that energy consumers and the state economy continues to benefit from affordable power, a more secure and resilient grid and innovation that is establishing Illinois as a leader for a greener, cleaner future.
“The Smart Grid is the platform for our energy future,” said ComEd President and CEO Anne Pramaggiore. “It provides the flexibility needed to further integrate clean, renewable energy onto our power system, while enhancing the resiliency of the grid and meeting the growing demand among customers for more energy choices. HB3328/SB1879 offers a balanced and sustainable plan for Illinois to build upon this platform and enable energy customers to realize the full potential of a 21st Century grid.”
This legislation sponsored by State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood), State Representative Bob Rita (D-Blue Island) and State Rep. Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein), will create at least 400 full-time equivalent jobs in Illinois. These initiatives will initially result in a modest decrease on the average monthly customer bill and a modest increase in later years, but when averaged over the entire 10 years of the program the impact on customer bills is essentially zero.
“This legislation will not only drive growth in renewable energy, it also makes it possible for people at all income levels to benefit from it by participating in community solar projects, without having to shoulder the cost of a rooftop system,” said Sen. Lightford.
Pramaggiore outlined the new initiatives, emphasizing the importance of building upon the smart grid program that was established with the 2011 enactment of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA).
“Our legislation maximizes the critical investments that are being made in Illinois’ energy and economic future, such as the Smart Grid program,” said Pramaggiore. “We need to take full advantage of the infrastructure enhancements we have recently made and recognize that the next evolution of the grid is necessary to meet the demands of a fast-moving digital economy that places a high priority on reliable power.”
The legislative proposal includes measures to strengthen the security and resiliency of the grid, the construction of microgrids, community solar projects and the expansion of energy efficiency programs.
More Power Resiliency and Security for Critical Infrastructure
The legislative package features a proposal to construct microgrids, which are small power grids that can connect to the main grid or operate independently, reinforcing reliability and resiliency during extreme weather or other events. HB3328/SB1879 would enable ComEd to invest $300 million in six microgrids that will service public facilities and infrastructure that are integral to healthcare, homeland security, transportation and water services. The microgrid program would also create at least 300 full-time equivalent jobs.
“We need a comprehensive energy policy in Illinois and one important part of that policy should be preparing for the unexpected,” said Rep. Rita. “The microgrids proposed in this pilot project will protect and strengthen our critical electric infrastructure, while we are also working to find new ways to produce the energy we need to power our homes and economy. We will work together this spring to find the right mix for our energy future.”