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Illinois Regulators Adopt Governor's Sustainable Energy Plan

Following more than five months of public comment and deliberation, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) adopted Gov. Rod Blagojevich's sustainable energy plan. The ICC resolution issued Tuesday largely reflects the proposal the governor submitted to the ICC last February that called for both a renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standard.

The resolution recognizes the benefits of renewable energy noted in a recent ICC staff report dealing with the governor's proposal. ICC staff concluded that the plan offers both consumer and environmental protections, noting that renewable energy can "provide a hedge against rising fossil fuel prices and to reduce the amount of pollutants released by the burning of fossil fuels." The staff also noted that energy efficiency can lower electricity costs, improve reliability of the electricity system and even help make energy markets more competitive.

To implement the renewable portfolio standard, Illinois' electric utility companies will begin acquiring 2% of their electricity from renewable sources like wind, methane captured from landfills and crops and organic waste by the end of 2006, ramping up in 1% annual increments to 8% by 2012.

Under the energy efficiency portfolio standard, utility companies will create new programs to reduce 10% of rising electricity demand by 2007 by helping their customers invest in energy saving equipment and technology. By 2015, these energy efficiency programs will reduce 25% of Illinois' increasing energy demand.

The ICC expects Illinois' electric utilities to file plans to implement the sustainable energy plan within 30 days.

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