The Future Energy Jobs Act or FEJA is a year old. A bipartisan chorus of elected officials, union and business leaders are heralding it for making a significant impact in the state economy.
Kiersten Sheets is with heating and cooling solutions company, Ruyle Mechanical Services. She says the expansion of clean energy jobs and its economic benefits will only continue.
“I have attended workshops held by the Illinois Power Agency that drew many representatives of renewable energy developers from across the country who are looking to invest in Illinois,” Sheets said. “This could mean $12 to $15-Billion dollars in new investments coming to Illinois because of FEJA.”
Sheets says the Future Energy Jobs Act has already meant the creation of 120,000 jobs toward wind, solar and energy efficiency. She it’s growing six times faster than rate of the overall economy.
State Senator Dave Koehler helped pass the legislation. He says state and federal tax credits will continue to drive the expansion of the clear energy industry.
“That’s why you are starting to see an explosion right now of solar [energy] because solar is ready for Illinois. The technology is there. And because of these incentives we now see projects whether they are commercial scale projects, whether they are community projects they are now viable economically.”
Foundulac Township is laying the groundwork for one of the first community solar projects. It’s expected be able to power 400 homes.
Koehler says wind energy will also see renewed stimulation. He says the act also requires energy efficiency benchmarks people are just starting to recognize. Ameren must reduce its annual energy usage by 16-percent and ComEd by 21-percent by 2030.
Governor Bruce Rauner also celebrated the benefits of FEJA at the Environmental Entrepreneurs and Clean Energy Trust reception in Chicago Wednesday.