Energy justice group awarded 9 MW of Illinois community solar projects

Final week, the Illinois Energy Company (IPA) introduced its Neighborhood-Pushed Neighborhood Photo voltaic Mission choice outcomes for this system yr 2023-2024. The company chosen the Inexperienced Power Justice Cooperative (GEJC), a consumer-owned clear power cooperative launched by Blacks in Green (BIG) and core companions, to develop three tasks at 3 MWDC every, totaling 9 MW of solar energy, to learn neighborhood members in Illinois. BIG is a nationwide community for environmental justice and financial improvement created to shut America’s racial well being/wealth hole by the brand new inexperienced economic system.

On completion, the three tasks will present a uncommon neighborhood possession stake in clear power era and decrease the power burden of its Black, Brown and different low-and-moderate earnings (LMI) beneficiaries in Aurora, Naperville, Romeoville and surrounding communities in Illinois. Comparable developments by BIG are deliberate for Cook dinner and Kankakee counties. The estimated worth of this renewable power credit score award is $12.5M.

BIG tasks ranked first, second and fourth within the Illinois Shines aggressive course of and validated years of funding by BIG to satisfy its second precept of Inexperienced-Village-Constructing: Every village produces and shops its personal power for mild, warmth and transportation, and owns its technique of manufacturing.

“It’s a end result of greater than a decade of motion alliance work to construct an Illinois renewable power business by FEJA and CEJA (Clear Power Jobs Act) laws, and to construct community-scale options as a Chicago Local weather Motion Plan associate,” stated Naomi Davis, founder and CEO of BIG. ”

Being awarded the challenge provides a software to BIG’s Sustainable Sq. Mile/Power Justice Portfolio, which it affords as open supply innovation by an EPA Thriving Communities grant — together with choices like village-scale microgrid and grid modernization research, neighborhood decarbonization, power auditing workforce coaching, native EV charging station community and its power affordability invoice, the Individuals’s Utility Charge Reduction Act PURR.

“All are crucial to the success of our Marketing campaign To Finish Power Poverty, which goals to broaden nationally the Illinois normal of a 6% cap on family earnings for life-essential companies of sunshine and warmth,” Davis stated.

When the neighborhood photo voltaic challenge launches, it is going to permit LMI family subscribers to save cash on their electrical payments. Subscribers to those neighborhood photo voltaic tasks will see extra advantages, together with: co-ownership of the photo voltaic co-op and accompanying revenue sharing; a voice within the administration of the clear power cooperative; equitable workforce coaching and capability improvement; and the chance to assist create an equitable clear power transition that gives significant advantages to folks and protects the surroundings.

“We’re delighted to have our three photo voltaic tasks scored so extremely by the Illinois Energy Company. This can make sure that the tasks are accomplished and thereby display the ability of photo voltaic sovereignty for possession and wealth constructing by Blacks in distressed Black communities. And the ability of great middle-class job creation at scale, by Blacks in distressed Black communities,” stated Rev. Tony Pierce, GEJC board member and CEO of Solar Brilliant Power.

Launched in 2022, GEJC is owned by its photo voltaic subscribers and supporters and serves as a automobile for economically and racially-just possession of native clear power, the place low-income communities of coloration personal their power and profit from the financial and political energy that comes with proudly owning power era. This win ensures that the co-op is one step nearer to getting the advantages of the burgeoning clear power transition in Illinois to underserved and marginalized communities on this age of local weather disaster.

The co-op was based by BIG alongside the next coalition of mission-aligned, community-based organizations within the Chicagoland space:

  • Develop Larger Englewood
  • Individuals for Neighborhood Restoration
  • Southeast Environmental Job Drive
  • Imani Village
  • Neighborhood Transformation Ministries / Solar Brilliant Power LLC / Neighborhood
  • Transformation Partnership Energy (CTP-Energy)
  • Claretian Associates
  • North Lawndale Employment Community
  • Chicago Environmental Justice Community (CEJN)
  • City Juncture
  • Greenleaf Advisors

Many of those organizations have been working collectively on power justice points within the Chicago space for many years, and have been searching for to implement alternatives for community-based photo voltaic because the passage of the landmark clear power transition laws, the CEJA, that set bold objectives for the equitable transformation of the state’s power portfolio by the yr 2050.

“We’re actually excited to be supporting GEJC in bringing community-owned photo voltaic to GEJC’s native communities in Illinois,” stated Timothy DenHerder-Thomas, Cooperative Power Futures common supervisor. “Via our co-op in Minnesota, we’ve seen the ability of this mannequin in uniting communities round a clear power future that works for renters and low-income households and makes positive native residents personal and get the advantages too.”

The three GEJC Neighborhood-Pushed Neighborhood Photo voltaic tasks chosen by the Illinois Energy Company will now be offered to the Illinois Commerce Fee, the Illinois public utility regulatory physique in January 2024 for approval for Renewable Power Credit (REC) contracts.

“We’re delighted to associate with Blacks in Inexperienced to assist create new sources of renewable power in Aurora and Romeoville by the Inexperienced Power Justice Co-op,” stated Vibhu Kaushik, Senior Vice President and International Head of Power, Utilities, and Storage at Prologis. “As a member of the native enterprise neighborhood, Prologis is concentrated on working with our prospects, native governments, and native companions like Blacks in Inexperienced to assist create a vibrant and sustainable economic system.”

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