Illinois set to remain regional leader in clean energy job growth through bold renewable energy policies, funding for workforce training and equity

SPRINGFIELD, IL  – Last night the Illinois House passed energy legislation that makes Illinois the first state in the Midwest to commit to 100% carbon-free power by 2045. This critical step for Illinois’ economy and environment will create jobs and opportunities for Illinoisans throughout the state. The bill provides funding to advance Illinois’ electric grid from 9 percent to 40 percent renewable energy by 2030 and also sets aside $80 million a year for equity focused workforce and contractor development programs and $35 million a year for business development grants. Additional programs will be created for workers and communities with coal plants as they transition to clean energy.

The following are statements from four Illinois business leaders in Illinois who agree that SB2408 delivers bold action on climate and will create an environment where clean energy businesses can remain, hire, and thrive in Illinois.

Ky Ajayi, President of Central Road Energy LLC in Bloomington, IL: 
“With today’s vote, Illinois takes a step to create opportunities for clean energy job growth. Our country is moving towards a clean economy and if Illinois doesn’t act, it will fall behind states like Wisconsin and Michigan. The legislation is the type of policy that will give companies confidence to set up shop and do business in Illinois, not only because of the incentives for solar but also the resources going to train up a new generation of clean energy workers. Thanks to the workforce development programs we have today, I’ve seen first-hand how access to clean energy jobs can change lives.”

Milt Pinsky, Chairman of Banner Real Estate in Deerfield, IL: 
“While the cost of inaction on climate is profound, the benefits of investing in a clean energy future are immense. I’ve built my career in the real estate business and have lived in Illinois nearly my whole life. When Illinois invests in its future through policies that invest in our communities, create jobs, and clean up our air by moving away from coal, we all benefit. SB2408 is a good investment for Illinois.”

Maria Onesto Moran, Owner of Green Home Experts in Lyons, IL: 
“I own a company that provides energy efficiency services throughout Chicagoland – from the installation of smart thermostats for senior citizens to shipping and packing energy efficiency kits to utility customers. We see firsthand the benefits of making energy efficiency improvements in people’s homes – from the obvious cost savings on your energy bill to the jobs that are created. The energy bill just passed by the House will not only extend Illinois’ current efficiency programs, it will also make these programs more accessible to more people. That’s the type of investment Illinois needs.”

AJ Patton, CEO and Founder of 548 Capital in Chicago, IL: 
“The clean energy industry in Illinois has tremendous potential to bring new opportunities to disadvantaged communities in Chicago and throughout Illinois, and this bill will help make that happen. I can personally attest to the challenges of financing new projects as a Black entrepreneur. The legislation not only creates new financing opportunities but also creates a pipeline for people from disadvantaged communities to get trained up and hired in the renewable industry. I am proud Illinois will be leading the way in creating an equitable clean energy industry that brings the benefits and jobs of clean energy to Black Chicagoans like me.”

You can view more stories of Illinois clean energy professionals by viewing the links to videos of CEO Van Vincent and solar installer Mari Garcia’s stories on YouTube.

For more information or for interview requests, please contact Micaela Preskill (312-995-5908, mpreskill@e2.org) or Michael Timberlake (913-645-9103; mtimberlake@e2.org).

Additional Information:

  • E2 Report | Clean Jobs Midwest 2021: More than 115,000 Illinoisans worked in clean energy and clean vehicles at the end of 2020. Search here for specific local data on clean energy jobs in your city, county, legislative district and coverage area. Clean energy employed workers in all 102 counties and all 18 congressional districts in Illinois.
  • E2 Report | Clean Jobs, Better JobsNationally, clean energy job wages are about 25 percent better than national median hourly wage. In Illinois, the median wage for clean energy workers in 2019 was $22.46 per hour, about 13 percent higher than the median wage for all Illinois jobs.
  • E2 Report | Clean Jobs America 2021: More than 3 million Americans work in clean energy nationwide.

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Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.

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