Could Illinois lead a clean energy revolution in the US?
The proponents of a new energy bill seem to think so – the Clean Energy Jobs Act plans to move the Midwestern state to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
The region, which includes the major city of Chicago, would initially work towards a target of generating 45% of its electricity from renewable sources and phasing out all fossil fuels by 2030, suggesting nuclear would still have a role to play by this time.
The bill was proposed by environmental and energy groups that are members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition – they want it to address shortcomings in the Future Energy Jobs Act, which was passed in 2016.
They say it would create 40 million new solar panels and 2,500 new wind turbines, enough to supply four million homes.
Politicians in support of the move believe it would bring increased job growth, new investments, significant customer savings and a range of health benefits.
The bill would also expand solar energy schemes, support cost-saving energy efficiency programmes and help develop a flexible and affordable energy grid for the future.
The shift to renewable energy sources would also help clean up transport, through using clean energy to power electric vehicles.