On April 3, 2018, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved, with modifications recommended by solar advocates and consumer groups, the Illinois Power Agency’s (IPA) Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan (Plan). The Plan was adopted under the Future Energy Jobs Act, which requires the ICC to establish a long-term plan for renewable resources procurement and lays out a path for electric utilities to get 25% of their power from renewable resources by 2025.
The Plan sets forth how the IPA, which procures energy for the state’s investor-owned utilities, will implement and oversee a variety of programs and procurements to purchase renewable energy credits (RECs). The utilities had argued that municipal utility and cooperative customers should not be able to sell RECs from their solar projects, since they do not pay into the state’s renewable energy fund that finances the RECs. An administrative law judge previously proposed an order that banned municipal and rural electric cooperative customers from the REC program.
However, the final Plan made several changes to the administrative law judge’s proposed order that are aimed at ensuring broad participation in the program and allows for municipal and rural electric cooperative customers to participate in the REC programs. The Plan also includes the Illinois Solar for All Program, which aims to provide a solar market for low-income households and communities. Further, the Plan includes auditing procedures to ensure Illinois residents benefit from the Plan; provisions to maximize Illinois’ benefit from the clean energy economy; and eliminates all spot REC procurements to increase investment in new renewable resources that will help meet Illinois’ long-term renewable energy goals.