The Illinois Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Act is a bold and visionary proposal to expand and deploy renewable energy technologies at existing power plant sites across the central and southern Illinois. The plan calls for the reinvestment of over $450 million at 10 power plants to immediately develop approximately 300 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar projects and approximately 150 MW of new energy storage facilities. This investment will support approximately 2,000 union construction jobs and provide a new or enhanced tax base for local plant communities for decades to come.

The renewable and emission-free electricity infrastructure will be located at the site of repurposed or existing coal power plants and will start coming online as early as 2022/2023 and no later than 2025. Currently, Illinois only has approximately 40 MW of large-scale solar facilities and 130 MW of energy storage capacity. The Act incentivizes an immediate infusion of over $450 million in renewable energy infrastructure across central and southern Illinois to increase the state’s renewable energy portfolio and help achieve its emission reduction commitments.

Coal Power Plants Illinois

THE PLAN

The Act helps Illinois transition to a new, renewable energy future to benefit future generations to come by unlocking the benefits of the renewable energy economy by:

Investing in Shovel-ready Renewable Energy Projects at Legacy Plant Sites

To spur the transition toward renewable energy sources, the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) will award 15-year contracts to owners of existing plants to provide renewable energy credits from emission-free generation that will be built at the legacy plants. Union labor will construct and operate the new solar and energy storage facilities which will come online by 2022/2023.

Increasing Grid Stability, Reliability, and Renewable Resources Through New Energy Storage

To further enhance the grid’s stability, reliability, and ability to best utilize renewable power, approximately 150 MW of energy storage will be built across central and southern Illinois and come online between 2023-2025. As a result, Illinois would have the largest network of energy storage facilities in the Midwest and one of the largest in the nation.

Responsibly Maintaining Electricity Assets In Illinois As Renewables Come Online

For a variety of longstanding factors, between 2015 and 2022 approximately 4,700 MW – enough power for 2.3 million homes – of electricity generation capacity has closed or will close in the downstate Illinois MISO Zone 4 market. The Act has a transition plan, tied to market prices, to keep 2,200 MW of existing in-state generation capacity that is at-risk of premature closure in operation through 2025. This gives more time for additional in-state renewable generation to be planned and built. In 2025, market conditions and other policy decisions will determine the future of the remaining legacy coal plants.

Reinvesting in Downstate Plant Communities and Supporting Local Business Property Tax Base

Power plants are often a leading source of property tax revenue for local communities, helping pay for local schools, public safety, and municipal services. The reinvestment in renewable technology benefits the local tax base and it is estimated that fleet-wide, average property taxes will increase by 28% compared to 2018 levels.

Creating A Long-Term Renewable Footprint At Plants Across Central And Southern Illinois

Reinvesting in operating or retired coal plants with new utility-scale solar and energy storage will ensure that plants that have been a leading source of property tax revenue for local communities will remain viable, income-producing businesses for decades to come.