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There are several proposed solar and wind farms in the WNIJ listening area as well as an established nuclear power plant. This series will outline the types of large-scale energy options available and the pros and cons of each as it pertains to the quality of life in northern Illinois. We’ll also explore the evolving nature of energy infrastructure and consumer level options. (Stories will post on the day they air)Monday: What is Feeding the Grid? A roundtable of reporters explain the timeline which led to the energy options available now and what’s on the horizon for alternative energy projects in Illinois.Tuesday: The “Third” Crop Susan Stephens explores the optimism and skepticism behind large-scale wind farms in northern Illinois.Wednesday: Sunny Skies Could Bring Big Bucks To Illinois Guy Stephens looks at the race to build solar in Illinois and the regulation going into these solar projects.Thursday: Don’t Forget About Nuclear Chase Cavanaugh explores how nuclear energy is trying to stay competitive while interest grows in the renewable energy market. Web Bonus: How A Nuclear Plant WorksFriday: Yes In My Backyard. Peter Medlin looks at energy options for consumers and how DIY options could help homeowners, schools, and businesses avoid the grid all together.

Renewable Power Jobs Grow Under Future Energy Jobs Act

Susan Stephens

It’s been two years since Illinois lawmakers approved the Future Energy Jobs Act.

The law set renewable energy targets for the state.  Dave Kolata is executive director of the Citizens Utility Board.  He says new energy efficiency standards will also bring down the overall cost of electricity. 

“By 2030, ComEd must now expand and enhance energy efficiency programs to cut electricity waste by a record 21.5% and for Ameren, it’s 16%," he said.

Another major aspect is setting aside funding to train people for clean energy jobs.  Arjun Krishnaswami is with the Natural Resources Defense Council.  He says this has helped greatly in rural regions.

“In 2017, Illinois had over 13,000 clean energy jobs," he said. "That means that more than 3 times  as many people were employed by clean energy in rural areas than by the fossil fuel industry.”

Krishnaswami says rural clean energy jobs also grew 5.5% between 2015 and 2016, despite the total number of jobs in all rural industries decreasing slightly overall.