Illinois Commerce Commission adopts state’s first Renewable Energy Access Plan

Published on June 06, 2024 by Chris Galford

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As required by the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) for 2021 and as an encouragement to regional transmission organizations (RTOs), the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) recently adopted the state’s first Renewable Energy Access Plan (REAP).

The plan must be reinvestigated next year and every two years thereafter. For the moment, though, its debut is structured around five strategies: 

  • Tracking progress of renewable and clean energy supply needs
  • Examining incentives and enforcement mechanisms to support competitive investment in different resources to support the energy transition
  • Identifying opportunities to equitably manage land use in renewable deployment and coordinating with transmission development
  • Using existing transmission infrastructure and proactively plotting for future needs to provide effective transmission planning and utilization
  • Charting opportunities to use regional electricity markets and trade for efficiency, emissions avoidance, and reliability

“The first REAP lays a path to help Illinois achieve its decarbonization goals by 2050,” Doug Scott, ICC chairman, said. “The REAP will serve as an important resource for regulators, policymakers, RTOs, and other stakeholders as Illinois’ energy transition continues to evolve, all while keeping affordability top of mind and ensuring our grid remains resilient and reliable.”

The plan will identify attractive renewable energy zones throughout the state, lock down the volume of renewable and clean resources needed over time, and establish the timelines needed to meet CEJA goals, among other things. With this in hand, ICC will pivot to focusing on near-term clean energy solutions, which, according to ICC Commissioner Ann McCabe, will include items like demand response and grid-enhancing technologies focused on reliability and lowering consumer energy costs.