Illinois Leads Midwest in Clean Energy Job Gains
The Land of Lincoln is the Midwestern leader in the charge to add clean energy jobs.
That was the message Gov. Bruce Rauner delivered this afternoon during a gathering of innovators and business leaders at the Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and Clean Energy Trust reception at the Mayer Brown law offices on South Wacker Drive in Chicago. The reception coincided with the one-year anniversary of the signing of Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act.
“Clean energy in Illinois is booming,” Rauner said. “Thanks to the Future Energy Jobs Act, we can compete head-to-head with any state in the nation to attract clean-energy investment and clean-energy jobs.”
Passage of FEJA has put Illinois in line for $180 million a year in new investment in renewable resources such as wind and solar.
According to the Clean Jobs Midwest report issued in September by E2 and Clean Energy Trust, 119,395 people now work in clean energy in Illinois, a 4.8 percent increase since 2015. The industry grew more than six times faster than overall job growth in the state. And Illinois leads the Midwest in the number of clean energy jobs, including renewable energy generation, advanced grid, energy efficiency, clean fuels and advanced transportation sectors.
“Combined with its already robust clean energy economy and Gov. Rauner’s commitment to growing jobs across the state, Illinois is well-positioned to continue attracting and maintaining the state’s growth in clean energy jobs,” said E2 Midwest Advocate Micaela Preskill.
Traits making Illinois especially attractive to energy innovators and capital investors include boasting two of the nation’s top 25 patent-producing institutions: the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.
With Argonne and Fermilab, Illinois also is home to two national laboratories. The state also ranks in the top six in the nation for headquartering Fortune 500 companies. Recently unveiled plans for the Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago and the Illinois Innovation Network further the appeal.
While FEJA is another driver of the state’s energy innovation prospects, it also protects ratepayers and taxpayers. Consumers are poised to enjoy $4 billion or more in reduced energy bills over the 10-year lifespan of the act. Provisions of the act provide millions of dollars to assist low-income residents through solar infrastructure installation jobs training and more.
“Clean energy jobs are some of the fastest-growing jobs in Illinois and the Midwest,” said Erik G. Birkerts, CEO of Clean Energy Trust. “We’re optimistic that this growth engine can continue unabated as the Midwest continues to prove it is a fertile region for clean energy innovation and deployment.”
SOURCE: state of Illinois news release
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