Illinois commission votes to expand state’s clean energy sources

The Illinois Commerce Commission has approved a sustainable-energy initiative designed to increase the state’s reliance on renewables, especially wind power. The plan is voluntary, but if it is fully embraced by all of the state’s utilities Illinois could see 8 percent of its electricity produced via clean energy sources by 2013, up from the current one-half of 1 percent. More than a dozen wind-energy projects are planned for the state, including the world’s largest wind farm; they’re expected to generate jobs and boost incomes in rural areas and cut air pollution. Utilities are also being asked to help customers invest in energy-efficient technology and devices, in a bid to reduce demand 10 percent by 2007 and 25 percent by 2015. While he would have liked the plan’s goals to be mandatory rather than optional, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) is optimistic that it’s a “good step forward” for “all-American energy.”