Illinois has embraced renewables on a massive scale not seen anywhere else in the nation, with 91 communities providing 100% clean electricity to their residents, says a new report.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Environmental Law and Policy Center, LEAN Energy US, the Illinois Solar Energy Association, the Illinois Sierra Club, and The George Washington University Solar Institute released the report.
Each of the communities in Illinois independently voted to buy electricity through renewable energy credits (RECs) – energy that comes from sources like wind, solar and geothermal.
‘Communities up and down the state have banded together to pursue renewable electricity, reducing both their utility costs and the state's environmental footprint," comments U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. "Illinois is showing what can happen when change at the local level is harnessed to create a collective movement, and I hope other states take notice."
According to the report, Illinois is one of six states in the country that currently allows community choice aggregation (CCA), a system by which communities can use their bulk purchasing power to solicit bids from energy providers. Requests for bids can stipulate the mix of energy sources, and as seen in Illinois, can require that all electricity is offset by RECs. Other states allowing CCA are New Jersey, Ohio, California, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Keya Chatterjee, director of renewable energy and footprint outreach at the WWF, congratulates the communities for embracing renewables and for doing so with little or no fanfare.
‘No one knew this was happening, and I doubt anyone would have guessed," says Chatterjee. "America's green energy revolution is here; and it starts in Illinois.’