CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the State of Illinois intends to begin powering 141 Springfield-based facilities under his control with clean renewable wind energy purchased through City Water Light and Power (CWLP).
CWLP will provide wind power to serve these State facilities and a portion of their other Springfield customers. In addition to providing wind power, CWLP has agreed to dramatically reduce their air emissions from their proposed new coal-fired power plant and to meet Gov. Blagojevich’s proposed mercury rule by cutting mercury emissions by 90 percent. The proposal will now go before the Springfield City Council Utilities Committee.
“By relying more on renewable energy sources like wind, we can generate the electricity we need without polluting our air or contributing to global warming. This effort will help improve the quality of life for families in the Springfield area,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “The Sierra Club and CWLP both deserve credit for working with us on a plan that could serve as a great model for other communities, and even for the rest of the country.”
In 2005, State facilities under the Governor’s control used approximately 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity purchased from CWLP. Upon reaching a final agreement with CWLP, power delivered to the 141 facilities in Springfield under the authority of the Governor will be 100 percent wind-generated beginning July 1, 2007 for at least 10 years. In addition, the State and CWLP will cooperatively develop energy-saving measures to help reduce the State’s overall energy use.
“Powering state buildings with wind power clearly demonstrates Gov. Blagojevich’s leadership to not only protect public health and the environment but to take aggressive action to address the very real threat of global warming,” said Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott. “The Governor’s action today sends a clear signal that Illinois is firmly on the path to a sustainable energy future.”
The Governor’s announcement today builds on his commitment to promote renewable energy development in Illinois. Last year, Gov. Blagojevich proposed a Sustainable Energy Plan that requires Illinois electric utilities provide 8 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2013 and boost investment in energy saving programs. The proposal has accelerated the development of wind farms and prompted the Illinois Commerce Commission to consider renewable energy requirements and expansion of programs to reduce energy use.
“Leading by example is the right thing to do, whether it’s investing in clean, homegrown renewable energy like wind power or taking steps to save energy and reduce our energy costs,” said Paul Campbell, director of the Department of Central Management Services, which manages facilities on behalf of State agencies. “Powering Illinois government with renewable energy is common sense because wind power is not only good for the environment, it’s good for farmers and rural communities who benefit from the income, jobs, and tax revenue wind farms generate.”
Since coming into office, Gov. Blagojevich has demonstrated his commitment to improving the air-quality in both Illinois and regionally:
o In January 2006, Gov. Blagojevich announced his proposal to aggressively cut mercury emissions from Illinois power plants by 90 percent by mid-2009. These State standards will go far beyond the federal Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) restrictions adopted last spring and would make Illinois a national leader in efforts to reduce toxic emissions into the environment.
o Last year, Governor Blagojevich charged the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), in collaboration with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), to undertake a major pollution reduction initiative on the reconstruction project of the Dan Ryan Expressway. Heavy construction equipment on the Dan Ryan project is required to use emissions control or ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, which is significantly cleaner than regular diesel fuel. IDOT has also instituted idling limits and dust controls in order to reduce construction related air emissions.
o Gov. Blagojevich called on Illinois hospitals that still burn trash and medical waste on-site to voluntarily stop this practice. The emissions from hospital incinerators are known to contain dangerous toxins.
o In October 2003, the Governor’s Illinois Clean School Program was launched to offer grants to Illinois school districts, enabling them to reduce pollution from their school bus fleets. The multi-faceted program includes assisting Illinois school districts in replacing existing buses with cleaner models, retrofitting existing buses with advanced emission control technologies and implementing the use of cleaner fuels.
o The State of Illinois has one of the largest fleets of “Flex Fuel Vehicles” that can use E-85 in the nation, and the Governor signed an Executive Order in 2004 that is increasing the amount of E-85 used in State vehicles.
o The State has switched its diesel pumps to 2 percent biodiesel, and in 2005 the Governor signed legislation that requires the State, county and local governments, school districts, universities and community colleges, and mass transit agencies to use 2 percent biodiesel.
o The Illinois DCEO provides grants for gasoline stations to offer E-85, for ethanol research, and grants for new ethanol production facilities.
o The Illinoisgreenfleets.org website shows you where to find E-85 stations in Illinois and which vehicles can run on E-85.
o The Illinois EPA provides rebates for alternative fuel vehicles and alternative fuels, including biodiesel and ethanol.
o Early in his administration, Governor Blagojevich signed legislation that eliminates the sales tax on E-85 and certain percentages of biodiesel.