Illinois – The Quiet Renewable Energy Achiever

Since 2013, more than 90 Illinois towns and cities – representing 1.7 million people – have made the switch to 100% renewable electricity using Community Choice Aggregation (CCA).
Established in the state in 2009, CCA works a little like some of the recent electricity switching initiatives in Australia; helping local communities to pool their electricity purchasing power. This allows areas to then choose an electricity supplier; not only driving down the price of power, but also the type of energy supplied.
The Illinois experience has seen demand for energy sources such as wind and solar increase by over 6 terawatt hours (TWh) – enough to take 250,000 homes entirely off fossil fuel generated electricity.
“Illinois is showing what can happen when change at the local level is harnessed to create a collective movement, and I hope other states take notice;” said Senator Dick Durbin.
According to a new report released by WWF and partners; cities in five other states – California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Rhode Island – are also using this tool to boost renewable energy use.
“Without fanfare, 91 local governments in Illinois have decided that renewable electricity is the best option,” said WWF’s Keya Chatterjee. “No one knew this was happening, and I doubt anyone would have guessed. America’s green energy revolution is here; and it starts in Illinois.”
Leading from the Middle: How Illinois Communities Unleashed Renewable Energy can be downloaded here (PDF).
CCA’s also leverage the power of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), very similar to Australia’s renewable energy certificate system.
The report shows how communities can use CCAs to not only purchase RECs, but also invest in new renewable energy projects that create jobs and focus the social and environmental benefits in the local community.