CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today commended an authoritative new study of Illinois’ energy resources, released by the University of Illinois at Chicago, that found that the Governor’s Renewable Energy Plan would not only create cleaner air, but would also add 7,800 jobs and boost economic growth by approximately $7 billion across the state by 2012. The Governor’s Renewable Energy Plan is one portion of the Sustainable Energy Plan that he submitted to the Illinois Commerce Commission in February. According to the UIC study, the Governor’s plan would boost rural economic development and job creation, while promoting responsible energy production and consumption.
“The UIC study shows that not only would the Sustainable Energy Plan I proposed in February help clean up our air and reduce our reliance on imported energy sources, it would also provide an important boost for Illinois by creating nearly 8,000 new jobs and pumping billions of dollars into our economy,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “The UIC study helps make a strong case for our Sustainable Energy Plan that is now pending before the Illinois Commerce Commission.”
Under Gov. Blagojevich’s plan, electric utilities like ComEd and Ameren would provide 2 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by the end of 2006, increasing 1 percent annually to 8 percent by 2012. Implementation of the plan would produce enough pollution-free electricity to power one million Illinois households. At least 75 percent of the renewable energy would be generated by wind power. The plan is under rapid review by the Illinois Commerce Commission.
The study finds that if Illinois were to meet the Governor’s goal of 8 percent renewable energy by 2012, the state would gain 7,800 jobs (including 1,800 directly in renewable energy), economic growth would increase by approximately $7 billion and household and business income in the state would increase by about $1.8 billion. The study also finds that implementing the renewable energy goal would cut power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by 2012 by the equivalent of four typical mid-size power plants operating today.
“From the University of Illinois at Chicago study, we can see the entire scope of economic and job creation benefits that will come from the Governor’s Renewable Energy Plan over the next seven years, and they are enormous,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin. “The wind energy projects operating in Illinois are demonstrating not only the environmental benefits of renewable energy but also the economic benefits -- new jobs installing and operating the equipment, and new income for the farmers on whose land the projects are built.”
Both of Illinois’ two largest electric utilities – Commonwealth Edison and Ameren Corporation – have endorsed the Governor’s Sustainable Energy Plan:
"Ameren is committed to working with the Governor and the Illinois Commerce Commission to achieve the Governor's vision of renewables in Illinois' energy future," said Ameren Senior Vice-President Steven Sullivan. "The Governor's goal would put Illinois on the cutting-edge of renewable energy when compared to other states."
“We are very supportive of Gov. Blagojevich’s environmental initiatives, including the use of renewable energy resources and energy efficiency technologies. Over the last five years, ComEd has invested more than $350 million to develop renewable energy resources, improve efficiency and preserve and restore natural areas. Renewable energy will be an important future energy source,” said Frank Clark, president of ComEd.
The report was authored jointly by the Energy Resources Center of the University of Illinois at Chicago and by the Regional Economics Application Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The full report is available at www.erc.uic.edu.