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Illinois Wind Industry Awaits Outcome of State Energy Policy Dispute Resolution

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According to an article in Chicago Grid, "Broadwind Energy, an industrial and wind energy gear company based in Cicero, exemplifies Illinois’ choppy wind power landscape." Among that choppiness is uncertainty regarding Illinois' state energy policy.

...just as Chicago plays host to the Windpower convention May 5-8 at McCormick Place, a dispute is brewing about how to fund Illinois’ renewable power industry and how wind energy company consolidation will play out.

Environmentalists, wind farm and other renewable power developers and operators are leading an effort in the Illinois Legislature to change how renewable energy is purchased because market changes have left the state’s renewable energy standard unworkable. The result could give wind farm operators a more reliable, longer-term revenue stream.

The proposal, opposed by powerful utility Commonwealth Edison as unnecessary, would give all renewable power buying authority to the Illinois Power Agency, which now buys power for utilities ComEd and Ameren, and take it away from alternative suppliers that have sprung up in the marketplace. The alternative suppliers could still sell renewable energy to customers who want to buy more than the law mandates, but it wouldn’t count toward the state’s mandated amount.

Meanwhile, as the policy uncertainty continues, "104 companies in Illinois with more than 15,000 employees, including 60 companies in the Chicago region," await the outcome.