The Illinois Power Agency (IPA) has ended all renewable energy incentives in Illinois and effectively phased out the state’s renewable energy program.
The renewable energy program, launched in late 2017, offered financial incentives to solar and wind turbine owners and has been the main driver of the rapid growth in jobs and renewable energy systems in recent years. The end of the incentives will force thousands of layoffs in renewable energy companies. IPA’s announcement also means Illinois will nowhere near meet its policy requirement of 25% renewable energy by 2025 unless new laws are passed.
The residential solar energy program in Northern Illinois closed on December 15th. The IPA announced the completion of the solar program in central and southern Illinois on December 4th, already exhausted.
“Illinois had become a hub for clean energy businesses, but now all of that is at risk,” said Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago). “If we are to get out of the depths of the pandemic, we must work urgently to save these jobs, properly fund clean energy programs and create growth.”
Clean energy proponents have been warning for more than two years that the government’s clean energy program will run out of funds. In response, a coalition of renewable energy companies introduced the Path to 100 Act in early 2019 to address the issue, but the bill has yet to be put to a vote.
Through funding from the Future Energy Jobs Act, the renewable energy program in Illinois has helped the state more than double its renewable energy assets in less than three years, and has enabled homeowners, schools and businesses across the state to achieve long-term energy savings. Illinois was among the top states for solar job growth in 2018 and 2019, but lost an estimated 3,500 jobs that year as incentives for large and commercial renewable energy projects dried up.
To date, despite legal requirements to reach 25% by 2025, Illinois has only produced 8% renewable energy. More than 1,000 solar projects that applied for state incentives were put on the “waiting list” due to a lack of funding. As Illinois seeks to restore its economy from the effects of the pandemic, these projects are ripe for the shovel and will continue once renewable energy incentive laws are passed.
Path to 100 is supported by renewable energy organizations working to create jobs in Illinois. More information on Illinois’ Path to 100 can be found here.