PRINCETON, ILL. – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced an $80,000 grant to Princeton’s city-owned electric department to assist residents, businesses, schools and non-profit agencies become more energy efficient. The governor made the announcement at Princeton’s Prowdy Building, 435 S. Main during the governor’s 13 county tour of northwest Illinois.
“It’s amazing how much money can be saved by businesses that adapt energy efficient programs and equipment,” Blagojevich said. “Studies have shown that resources previously devoted to paying off energy bills could instead go towards pay checks for new workers.”
The Community Energy grant is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and aims to improve local economies and business competitiveness by increasing overall energy efficiency within a community and reducing its net utility expenditures.
“It is important for both our environment and our economy that we find ways to reduce our energy consumption while at the same time broaden the use of alternative energy sources,” the governor said. “Adapting energy efficient programs tends to make businesses more competitive, helps consumers save money on their utility bills and leads to a reduction in emissions.”
Working with the Princeton Chamber of Commerce, the city will work aggressively to involve businesses in a variety of programs including one in which business and residential customers are eligible for up to $1,000 in rebates for adopting energy efficiency practices and buying equipment. The city utility also will assign staff to visit Princeton schools to teach students about energy efficiency.
Additionally, a portion of the funds will be used to purchase an infrared scanning camera that can analyze buildings and measure the amount of heat lost to the outside and the amount of cold air coming to the inside.
A 1998 study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy in Washington, D.C. showed that through the use of various energy efficient strategies by government, residents, businesses, and institutions between 1999 and 2015, the state could reduce energy use by almost 32 percent during that time period.
The investment in these programs and the reduction in energy use would also result in an increase in Illinois’ employment base – from a net increase of 20,700 jobs in the year 2005, to a net increase of 59,400 jobs by the year 2015. The rise in employment, driven largely by the spending of energy bill savings by business, is equivalent to the number of jobs supported by the expansion or relocation of almost 400 small manufacturing plants. Wage and salary compensation would similarly rise by a net of $1.6 billion by 2015.