Sierra Club Illinois: More green jobs for Illinois
Thanks to Julie Wernau for the excellent look at the recent growth of “green jobs” in the Chicago region (“New study defines, identifies green jobs in U.S.,” July 13). In particular, Illinois has benefitted from new clean energy policies that have encouraged 17 new large-scale wind farms since 2007. These projects have delivered cleaner air and over 14,000 new jobs so far, according to the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University.
While Illinois has been among the best in the nation at jumpstarting large-scale wind farms in rural areas, we have lagged in bringing renewable energy projects into our cities and suburbs. We now have a great opportunity to spur similar job growth in those communities with Senate Bill 1652, the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act. Key provisions of the “smart grid” legislation would remove barriers currently blocking renewable energy projects from being built on large roofs across the state. If enacted, the smart grid will bring solar panels and small wind turbines to currently vacant rooftops. The tops of big box stores, industrial parks and office parks would quickly become job sites, with electricians, equipment operators, carpenters, laborers and others installing pollution-free power systems that will help stabilize our electric grid.