Illinois Governor Purchases Wind Power, Utility Signs Greenhouse Gas Deal for the Capital

August 14, 2006

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich announced an innovative arrangement for supplying 141 buildings operated by the Executive Office in Springfield with wind power. Under the arrangement, the state will purchase wind energy certificates through City Water Light and Power (CWLP), the municipal utility that supplies electricity to the Illinois capital. The certificates are for the equivalent of the entire electricity consumption by these facilities, which is about 30 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year for ten years.

Blagojevich said the plan follows his commitment last year for the state to obtain eight percent of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2013. Blagojevich said, "By relying more on renewable energy sources like wind, we can generate the electricity we need without polluting our air or contributing to global warming."

The agreement also calls for state agencies in Springfield to work with CWLP to reduce electricity consumption in these buildings through efficiency measures. For more information, see the governor's July 12 press release.

On August 9, the Springfield City Council passed a measure that allows the CWLP to purchase wind energy for the state. In a close vote and after a heated discussion that reverberated across the state, the council also authorized the CWLP to put in place a greenhouse gas reduction plan to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent in 2012. The plan represents the first commitment by a U.S. utility to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

The CWLP now has authority to add wind up to 120 megawatts (MW) of wind generating capacity. Half of this capacity will be dedicated to supplying the capitol and other state office buildings in Springfield. Next, the utility will shutter its oldest coal-fired power plant and replace it with a new coal plant subject to the stringent soot, smog, and mercury pollution limits put forward by Blagojevich earlier in his term. Finally, CWLP will begin offering comprehensive energy efficiency audits for its customers' facilities and invest $4 million in efficiency programs during the next decade. This investment represents a tenfold increase in efficiency programs incentives for Springfield utility customers.

Source: August 11 edition of Wind Energy Weekly, which is published by the American Wind Energy Association.