Pritzker signs clean energy legislation, making Illinois power grid carbon-free by 2045

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CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation Wednesday morning which would commit Illinois to a 100% carbon-free electric grid by 2045, aligning the state with President Joe Biden’s clean energy agenda to reach net zero carbon emissions before 2050.

“We can’t outrun or hide from climate change – not to the north, where the Boundary Waters burn; not to the south, where Ida swallows lives and livelihoods in the blink of an eye,” said Pritzker. “There is no time to lose. Thanks to the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, Illinois is taking action in the fight to stop and even reverse the damage that’s been done to our climate.

Eleven Republicans joined with 72 Democrats in the House to approve Governor J.B. Pritzker’s massive climate change measure, voting 83-33 in support of the plan on Thursday night.

The 958-page piece of legislation offers a $4,000 rebate to people who purchase an electric vehicle, forces all private coal-fired and oil-fired power plants to close within nine years, allows methane-emitting natural gas power plants to stay open for another 24 years, and orders non-profit coal-fired power plants to shut down or become “100% carbon-free” by the end of 2045. Both municipal coal plants would also have to cap their total carbon output at 45% before 2035. If they fail to reach that goal, they would have to shut down one of their generation units within three years.

The plan gives Exelon $694 million to keep the Byron and Dresden plants operational. 

The Byron plant has been in operation since 1985. With the passage of the clean energy plan, it will remain operational until 2028.

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