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November 9, 2011 / Mike Piskur

Smart grid politics and distributed generation in Illinois

The Illinois “smart grid” bill became the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act in late October when the Illinois General Assembly overrode a veto by Governor Pat Quinn. The legislation will pour more than $3 billion dollars into modernizing the state’s electric grid, but Quinn and many consumer advocacy groups opposed it on the grounds that it also guts regulation of utilities and essentially allows ComEd and Ameren to raise customer rates on a yearly basis in order to guarantee a certain rate of return. The legislators and utility representatives who crafted the bill included several provisions in order to gain enough votes for passage. Key among these are new rules for net metering and distributed power generation, both of which have the potential to create a renewable energy boom in Illinois.

The Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandates that 25 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2025, but did not include any requirements for electricity from small-scale producers. Under the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, distributed generation must supply one percent of the state’s renewable energy by 2015. One percent of 25 percent of the state’s electricity consumption may not seem like a huge amount of energy, but it establishes incentives for homeowners and communities to invest in renewable energy technologies. It may prove to be a major step forward in transitioning Illinois away from fossil fuels and toward the post-carbon future.

 

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2 Comments

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  1. Jon / Nov 10 2011 14:55

    Unfortunately, it ain’t all roses. See: http://www.illinoissolar.org/blog

    • Mike Piskur / Nov 11 2011 09:33

      Jon,
      Thanks for sharing this.

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