URGENT: Contact state legislators this week to support clean energy bills

By Madeleine Weil
Environmental Law & Policy Center

This is your chance to help make sure an Illinois-based solar industry with growth of businesses and jobs can occur. Please contact your state legislators now to let them know you support this legislation. Voting on these measures will come as soon as Wednesday, March 10, and please forward to anyone else you think is supportive of solar power in Illinois.

Please send this out as an e-mail widely, and make sure to tell people how important it is that they help out.

Illinois Clean Energy Coalition
Senate update

Senate Bill 3686 and Senate Bill 3426 were not heard by the Senate Energy Committee Wednesday, March 3. We expect them to be called either this Wednesday (March 10) or the following Wednesday (March 17).

It is critical that committee members hear from you in support of these bills before the hearing. The utilities are actively working to kill the bills in committee. Please reach out early this week to tell committee members how important these bills are to building a strong renewable energy industry in Illinois.

Names, phone numbers, and bill summaries are below.

House update

House Bill 6013 and House Bill 6202 will also be heard in House committees this week.

Three very important bills are under consideration in Springfield this legislative session (see bill summaries and fact sheets below).

The legislative session is in full swing. The bills have strong sponsors lined up and have been assigned to committees. We’re enthusiastic about prospects for making game-changing progress this year to develop renewable energy markets in Illinois, but your support is needed to get the bills over the finish line.

We have two specific requests for coalition members this week:

(1) Call the Senate Energy Committee members listed below and ask them to support S.B. 3686 and S.B. 3426 (see bill summaries below). The Energy Committee meets this Wednesday at 9 a.m., so please contact members as soon as possible.

→ Sen. Mike Jacobs: (217) 782-5957

→ Sen. James Clayborne: (217) 782-5399

→ Sen. Iris Martinez: (217) 782-8191

→ Sen. Antonio Munoz: (217) 782-9415

→ Sen. Donne Trotter: (217) 782-3201

→ Sen. Dale Risinger: (217) 782-1942

→ Sen. Kirk Dillard: (217) 782-8148

→ Sen. John Jones: (217) 782-0471

→ Sen. Carole Pankau: (217) 782-9463

→ Sen. Dave Syverson: (217) 782-5413

→ Sen. Tim Bivins: (217) 782-0180

The following Energy Committee members have already signed on as bill sponsors, so please thank them when you call:

→ Sen. David Koehler: (217) 782-8250

→ Sen. Ricky Hendon: (217) 782-6252

→ Sen. Emil Jones III: (217) 782-9573

→ Sen. Michael Noland: (217) 782-7746

→ Sen. Martin Sandoval: (217) 782-5304

See the Illinois Board of Elections’ Web site at http://www.elections.illinois.gov/DistrictLocator/SelectSearchType.aspx?NavLink=1 to look up your own state senator by ZIP code and contact her/him as well.

(2) Send us project case studies that we can use to illustrate the job and economic development potential of renewable energy for the state of Illinois.

S.B. 3686 and H.B. 6013 background

Illinois’ Renewable Energy Standard (RES) requires that by 2015, 6 percent of the renewable energy credits purchased must come from solar power and establishes a preference for renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by projects in Illinois. The in-state preference is scheduled to expire in 2011. S.B. 3686 and H.B. 6013 would extend the in-state preference for renewable energy and gradually ramp up the use of solar energy as a portion of the RES requirement between now and 2015, creating jobs immediately.

See http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=SB&DocNum=3686&GAID=10&SessionID=76&LegID=51876.

S.B. 3426 and H.B. 6202 background

Illinois’ net metering rules only allow retail-to-retail rate net metering on renewable energy systems of 40KW or less. Power exported to the grid from systems larger than 40KW are credited at the lower, wholesale rate (at about 40 percent discount). S.B. 3426 and H.B. 6202 would increase the size of renewable energy systems eligible for net metering at the retail rate up to 2MW, allowing commercial, industrial and institutional players to receive full retail rate credit for the renewable energy they export to the grid.

See http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=3426&GAID=10&DocTypeID=SB&LegId=51302&SessionID=76.

S.B. 2505 background

The up-front costs of energy-efficiency and renewable energy systems often prevent installations from occurring, even when the longer-term value of energy savings is worth the investment. S.B. 2505 authorizes local governments to set up Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs. Using the PACE model, a local government could use its bonding authority to provide loans for energy upgrades for homes and businesses that opt to participate. Property owners would pay back the loans as a special assessment on their property tax bills over time.

See http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=SB&DocNum=2505&GAID=10&SessionID=76&LegID=49101.

Thanks for helping put people to work building renewable energy in Illinois today!

Editor’s note: Mark Burger of Kestrel Development Company supplied this information to The Rock River Times.

From the Mar. 10-16, 2010 issue

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