The state of Illinois has imposed a requirement that electric utilities obtain 25 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2025. Although weighted in favor of wind power, the new law does allow some of the commitment to be filled by hydropower.
A bill signed into law by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in late August requires 75 percent of power from renewables to come from wind energy. However, the law also allows for hydro that does not involve new construction or significant expansion of hydropower dams, as well as solar energy, biomass, and other alternative sources of �environmentally preferable� energy.
The renewable energy standard requirement applies to electric utilities that serve at least 100,000 customers within Illinois. It starts at 2 percent of the power supply June 1, 2008, increases to 10 percent of the power supply June 1, 2015, and then increases by 1.5 percent per year until 2025.
The law allows utilities to meet the requirements with renewable energy credits. It also places limits on the costs of the renewable requirement, allowing utilities to fall short if costs are too great.
Additionally, the law requires utilities to reduce overall electric usage by 0.2 percent of demand in 2008, escalating to 2 percent by 2015. It also creates an Illinois Power Agency, which is to conduct competitive processes to procure power. It also is to develop generation and co-generation facilities that use Illinois coal or renewable resources, financed with Illinois Finance Authority bonds.
Illinois is the latest of more than two dozen states that have some form of renewables portfolio standard. (HNN 9/6/07) Legislation that would create a federal renewables portfolio standard is stalled in Congress, but could come up in a House-Senate conference committee. (HNN 8/6/07)