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ICC adopts Illinois' first Renewable Energy Access Plan

Press Release - Tuesday, June 04, 2024

The plan presents a framework for an equitable, reliable, affordable energy transition.

Springfield, IL - On Thursday, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) adopted the state's first Renewable Energy Access Plan (REAP), an actionable roadmap to ensure Illinois meets its policy requirements for an equitable, reliable, and cost-effective clean electricity system. The REAP is intended to be a tool to encourage regional transmission organizations (RTOs) to be more proactive in pursing long-range transmission planning improvements to support future renewable energy development in their service territories.


"This first REAP lays a path to help Illinois achieve its decarbonization goals by 2050," said ICC Chairman Doug Scott. "The REAP will serve as an important resource for regulators, policymakers, RTOs, and other stakeholders as Illinois' energy transition continues to evolve, all while keeping affordability top of mind and ensuring our grid remains resilient and reliable."


The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), enacted in September 2021, required the ICC to open an investigation to develop and adopt a REAP. The plan must be reinvestigated again in 2025 and every two years thereafter. 


This and future REAP iterations are intended to clarify and quantify Illinois' policy requirements and goals; set clear timelines to meet the goals of CEJA; translate these requirements into the volume of renewable and clean resources needed over time; highlight attractive renewable energy zones (REAP Zones) within the state; identify and recommend pathways to utilize these zones to inform transmission planning; identify reforms to transmission interconnection and planning processes needed to ensure that the required resources can be deployed; and identify potential reforms to RTO markets to reliably and affordably support Illinois' clean electricity transition.


The REAP makes initial findings and recommendations organized around five strategic elements:

  1. Tracking Progress Toward Illinois' Policy Goals—Clarify the outlook for renewable and clean energy supply needs to determine how much renewable access must be created;
  2. Transitioning to a 100 percent Clean Electricity Mix—Examine the incentives and enforcement mechanisms that may be needed to support competitive investment in a reliable mix of resources throughout the transition to 100 percent clean electricity;
  3. Managing Land Use in Renewable Deployment—Identify opportunities to equitably manage land use in renewable deployment and coordination with transmission development, including through the development of REAP Zones;
  4. Effective Transmission Planning & Utilization—Develop a strategy for maximizing the use of existing transmission infrastructure and proactively planning around future needs to provide the necessary transmission cost effectively and reduce barriers to renewable development; and
  5. Leveraging Regional Electricity Markets & Trade—Identify opportunities for leveraging regional electricity markets and trade to access the most efficient resources, avoid emissions leakage, and maintain reliability.

"I commend staff and the involved parties for several years' work on Illinois' first REAP. The plan will enable the ICC to focus on near-term clean energy solutions like demand response and grid-enhancing technologies to better enhance reliability and lower consumer energy costs, as well as advocate for transmission planning reforms to expedite future renewable energy development across Illinois," said ICC Commissioner Ann McCabe.

The REAP was coauthored by Illinois Commerce Commission staff and experts from The Brattle Group. Consultants from Great Lakes Engineering served as contributing authors.

The complete and final first Renewable Energy Access Plan is available under Docket No. 22-0749.

About the Illinois Commerce Commission

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is a quasi-judicial body made up of five Commissioners.  Through its Public Utility Program, the Commission oversees the provision of adequate, reliable, efficient, and safe utility services at the least possible cost to Illinois citizens served by electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, and sewer public utility companies.  Through its Transportation Regulatory Program, the Commission oversees public safety and consumer protection programs with regard to intrastate commercial motor carriers of general freight, household goods movers, relocation towers, safety towers, personal property warehouses, and repossession agencies. The Commission's Rail Safety Program also inspects and regulates the general safety of railroad tracks, facilities, and equipment in the state.


To learn more about the Commission, its offices, and bureaus, click here. If you are a consumer who needs help resolving a utility dispute call 800-524-0795 or file an online complaint here.  For a complaint related to transportation, call 217-782-6448.


Follow the Illinois Commerce Commission on social media @ILCommerceComm.

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