New Report: Illinois Lags Behind Other Midwest States in 2015. Lack of
Action on Energy Bills in Springfield To Blame.
SPRINGFIELD, IL - A report
released today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) shows Illinois
falling behind other Midwest states in expanding wind power. In 2015, Iowa,
Kansas, and Oklahoma all saw significantly better growth than Illinois, largely
due to lack of action on state energy legislation.
"Wind power is a proven
economic engine for the state, particularly for the communities that benefit
from the property tax revenue from wind farms," said DK Hirner, Eastern
Region Policy Director for AWEA. "It's unfortunate that Illinois is being
left behind because of politics while other states grow their economy by
growing their renewable energy capacity."
The findings come from AWEA's U.S. Wind Industry Annual
Market Report published today. Overall, 2015 was a strong year for
wind power in the U.S. Wind energy was the No. 1 source of new generation in
the country, delivering 41% of new generation capacity. The industry also
peaked in employment and now counts over 88,000 employed in the wind industry,
including more than 4,000 in Illinois. Wind farms also provide over $10 million
in lease payments to Illinois farmers and landowners, according to the report.
While Illinois still ranks sixth
nationally for wind generation, growth has stalled in the last few years due to
inaction in Springfield. One proposal introduced by wind proponents and other
clean energy supporters is the Clean Jobs Bill. It would fix the state's
renewable energy law and provide other incentives to boost renewable energy in
Loopholes in Illinois energy law
prevent utilities from signing anything but very short-term contracts, but
utilities need to take a longer view to build new clean energy infrastructure.
The Clean Jobs Bill fixes this problem.
"State legislators have a
solution in front of them so Illinois can return to leading in wind energy
rather than falling behind," said Kevin Borgia, public policy manager for
Wind on the Wires. "This new report demonstrates that wind power delivers
jobs and economic growth and puts new urgency on passing the Clean Jobs
# # #
About Wind on the Wires
Wind on the
Wires is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., which is
comprised of wind developers, environmental organizations, tribal
representatives, public interest groups, clean energy advocates, farm groups
and businesses providing goods and services to the wind industry. Our mission
is to overcome the barriers to bringing wind energy to market by addressing
technical and regulatory issues, as well as through education and public