energy signing 091521CHICAGO – Illinois officially became a national leader in the fight for clean energy Wednesday, as the state’s historic climate bill was signed into law.

“Our goal all along was to enact reliable, renewable and affordable energy policies that create thousands of jobs in a burgeoning green energy economy and put Illinois at the forefront of addressing the undeniable threats of climate change,” said Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “With the governor’s signature today, that shared goal becomes our new reality.”

The law – originally Senate Bill 2408 – sets an ambitious goal of transitioning Illinois’ electric generation to 100% clean energy by 2050 and 50% renewable energy by 2040. It creates a firm schedule requiring coal-, oil- and gas-based power plants to close or repurpose, addressing a major contributor to global warming.

In order to reach these goals, the law championed by State Senator Michael Hastings (D-Frankfort) more than doubles the state’s budget for renewable energy, creates new workforce training programs and allows for the construction of two renewable energy transmission lines. In the short term, it provides funding to keep Illinois’ nuclear plants open, helping preserve thousands of jobs and ensuring that they aren’t replaced with fossil fuel-burning plants that would contribute to climate change.

"Our historic agreement is the culmination of a difficult, but worthwhile negotiation process where we refused to accept anything less than the best for Illinois’ clean energy future,” Hastings said. “Our work product is one that is renewable, reliable and affordable for all Illinoisans."

To empower neighborhoods that have been disproportionately harmed by pollution, the law also carves out specific programs and incentives for low-income communities, communities of color and justice-involved people, ensuring more equitable access to the clean energy economy.

“Historically, Black and Brown communities have been disproportionately impacted by climate change,” said State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “After years of fighting the battle for clean energy, I am proud we came together to pass a comprehensive energy package that puts environmental justice and equity at the center of the work to move Illinois to 100% clean energy.”

The landmark legislation came after years of negotiations and tireless work from members of the Energy Working Group, including the abovementioned senators and State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Swansea), State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago), and State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago).