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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined state labor, environmental and business leaders to endorse a clean jobs framework that will generate more than $400 million a year in new investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Chicago, creating thousands of jobs annually. The Mayor joined the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition to announce the framework at Testa Produce, a wholesale distributor of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetable with a facility that is home to the first freestanding wind turbine in the City of Chicago and 180 solar panels.
“This diverse coalition is all the more proof that going green is not a zero sum game. Instead, it is a win-win for our environment and our economy,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We are proving here in the City of Chicago that adopting a clean energy strategy is good for the environment, good for business, good for jobs, and good for our economic future.”
The framework supported by Mayor Emanuel and the Coalition would call for new energy efficiency standards to reduce the use of electricity in Illinois by 20 percent by 2025, and increasing the share of the state’s power that comes from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, to 35 percent by 2030. This proposal goes above and beyond President Obama’s challenge to states to chart a clean energy future and adopt strict new standards for cutting their carbon emissions, making the State of Illinois a model for America when it comes to creating clean energy jobs and building a clean energy future for the next generation.
These stronger standards would benefit businesses and residents in several ways. The expansion of energy efficiency standards would create more programs for residents to retrofit their homes, increase assistance to businesses to reduce their usage, and provide free or reduced cost energy-saving products, such as energy-efficient light bulbs, smart strips, and appliances. In addition, homeowners, landlords and small business owners will be able to more easily finance retrofits and energy efficient products on the utility bill, defraying much of the upfront cost.
For renewable energy, this framework creates incentives to reduce the cost of installing and maintaining smaller solar installations, which would make it more economical for residents, not-for-profits, and small businesses to generate their own solar power. Importantly, the framework would result in the development of new solar installations at vacant “brown field” lots in Chicago and in other parts of the state.
These new standards would bring more than $400 million in investment and create thousands of jobs a year, according to an analysis by the National Resources Defense Council. From construction jobs to retrofit buildings and install solar panels to engineers working with building operators to reduce energy usage in skyscrapers, the legislation would spur job growth in a variety of industries.
The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition consists of 26 organizations and 33 businesses committed to urging lawmakers to pass new standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy that will create tens of thousands of new jobs.