On July 21st, Representative Ann Williams joined fellow CEJA sponsor State Senator Christina Castro and Citizens Utility Board’s Jim Chilsen for a news conference hosted by the Illinois Clean Energy Coalition to address MISO’s failure to approve renewable energy projects for Central and Southern Illinois.
Representative Williams and her colleagues called out Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the corporation responsible for the management and transmission of electricity in Central and Southern Illinois served by Ameren, of dragging its feet on the approval of 34 new solar and wind projects – an estimate of 6,000 megawatts of energy. Despite energy price increases for Ameren customers over the summer, MISO has delayed real action to responsibly meet the needs of their consumers.
The passage of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) in September 2021 made the transition from dirty and expensive fuels such as coal to a clean energy economy law in Illinois. As Chair of the House Energy & Environment Committee and chief House sponsor of CEJA, Rep. Williams spoke to the urgency of implementing this people-powered law.
“CEJA was the solution to replacing the generating capacity of fossil fuels,” Representative Williams explained at the press conference. “We saw the future and passed CEJA to create a massive surge of renewable energy, and early signs show it’s working.”
Representative Williams emphasized how coal is polluting, expensive, and cannot compete with cleaner energy technologies.
With the war in Ukraine, corporate price gouging, and speculation in gas markets, “gas is following coal into the land of polluting, expensive fuels of the past,” Representative Williams explained. “Rather than quickly bringing more energy resources on the grid as quickly as possible, MISO is addressing concerns about capacity by trying to shift blame, warning of potential power outages this summer in Central and Southern Illinois, a view that even Ameren disputes.”
Fossil fuel interests and lobbyists are “jumping on MISO’s blame game and calling for a return to the days when coal and gas generated most of Illinois’ electricity, even as fossil fuel prices skyrocket, emissions pollute our communities, and the planet burns.”
“Going back to coal and gas is like pouring gasoline on a fire in terms of hiking energy prices and polluting our communities.” Representative Williams will continue to put pressure on energy corporations to ensure that CEJA is implemented fully. CEJA works – and our planet can’t wait.