Last month, Gov. Rauner signed into law the Future Energy Jobs Bill, a historic action that will help Illinois address climate change. The bill is a hallmark of cooperation in a divided state. And while much of the news has centered on provisions to assist nuclear plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities, many stories haven't highlighted the tremendous clean energy benefits of the bill.
For starters, the bill will spur the growth of 3000 MW of new solar and 1300 MW of new wind power. In practical terms, installing all those solar panels and wind turbines means jobs and growth for small businesses like mine.
As an owner of Rethink Electric, a solar power company based in Geneva, I am strongly supportive of the bill. I'm also excited about the programs designed to advance "community solar," or solar that is accessible to people living in apartments, as well as programs to encourage solar development and job training in low-income neighborhoods.
The fact is, Illinois has desperately needed to overhaul our energy policies for years. Our broken energy policy has hampered growth of renewable energy in the state (which the public widely supports) for the last five years. Now, thanks to the Future Energy Jobs Bill, Illinois has committed $200 million toward renewable energy jobs at a time when we need all the growth we can get.
It is great to see legislators and the governor move to address the critical need for energy reform. Perhaps this bipartisan collaboration can be an example for a deal on a budget or other pressing issues. While this bill is not perfect, it certainly has enough good in it to outweigh the bad. I for one am happy to see that our energy future is indeed bright once again in Illinois.
Mike Nicolosi, President,