This Week in Midwest Clean Energy: Illinois Waits while Iowa Makes Progress, Minnesota Solar Booms & Ohio Considers Getting Back in the Game
This week in Illinois, we heard Gov. Rauner deliver his State of the State speech, which failed to include a single reference to our state’s energy future. Meanwhile, Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition member Lisa Albrecht of the Illinois Solar Energy Association highlighted key benefits of the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, which would address many of Gov. Rauner’s previously-announced goals of adding good jobs, making Illinois more more competitive, increasing private investment in our state and increasing our tax base.
While we wait for action in Illinois, there was big renewable energy news made in neighboring and nearby states:
Iowa Leapfrogs to #2 in Wind
One of the goals of the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill is to get the development of wind energy back on track in Illinois. At one point, the rapid development of wind energy in Illinois, which was creating manufacturing jobs in cities like Chicago, Berwyn and Rockford had us on a path to catch our neighbor to the west, Iowa. But while Illinois wind has stalled out due to outdated policy, Iowa has pushed forward. This week news came that Iowa has surpassed California in the megawatts of wind produced. Read the big news at Radio Iowa. Quick note: Illinois, which slipped from #4 to #5 last year, is in danger of falling to #6, which would have us looking up at Kansas.
Minnesota Town Seeing a Solar Boom
Chief among the strengths of the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill is language that would open up the market to innovative community solar projects, allowing people who do not have ideal rooftop space to enjoy the benefits of solar energy. Last year, Minnesota passed legislation that opened their market to community solar, and local communities responded by passing ordinances welcoming solar. One such community, Cottage Grove, is now seeing a solar boom. Hundreds of undeveloped acres in the community are now being developed into solar projects by companies from Minnesota, California and Colorado. These projects are bringing new investment and jobs into the community. This is exactly what we can achieve through the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill. Read the news out of Minnesota in the Pioneer Press.
Ohio Gov. Says Renewable Energy Targets may be Coming Back
While Gov. Rauner has remained silent on the economic promise of wind, solar and energy efficiency, Ohio’s Governor voiced support for getting his state’s clean energy economy back on track this week. At a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Gov. Kasich told a crowd that he was growing weary of state legislators attempting to gut the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency goals. It seems renewable energy and energy efficiency aren’t just good for creating jobs and saving consumers money, at least one campaign thinks they make for good politics, too. We agree. After all, polling shows that more than 80% of voters including 72% of Republicans want quicker action on clean energy. That’s why we think Gov. Rauner should get Illinois on track with the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill. Check out coverage of Gov. Kasich’s clean, green stance in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.