The state of Illinois has taken the lead in renewable energy consumption…
The Daily Illini
Written by Eleanor Black
A newly released report states that Illinois is leading the nation in renewable energy use, with 91 communities, including Champaign County and Urbana, achieving 100 percent renewable electricity.
The report, titled “Leading from the Middle: How Illinois Communities Unleashed Renewable Energy,” states that since 2013, the 1.7 million people represented in Illinois reduced pollution levels “equivalent to taking more than 1 million cars off the road or 250,000 homes off the grid.”
Illinois communities have been able to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity using the Community Choice Aggregation, an energy model also known as municipal aggregation, which was passed in 2009. The savings and cleaner energy options stem from the amount of demand from residents, which allows the municipalities to negotiate purchasing rates and energy sources.
The city of Champaign uses what they call a Municipal Electric Aggregation program, a decision that had economic benefits as well as environmental, Mayor Don Gerard said.
“At the time, the MEA program was very attractive because it was considerably cheaper than the Ameren default rate,” he said. “Currently, the Ameren default rate has dropped while the cost of the program we were using has risen. So we will be talking about whether or not we’re going to renegotiate that contract to continue with the program.”
According to Gerard, Ameren is a conduit that purchases electricity and then provides it to Champaign residents. He said that 10 percent of their sources are renewable, and the city took advantage of the aggregation program to buy energy in bulk from those sources.
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