ISEA Blog

Welcome to the ISEA Blog. Catch up on the latest issues related to the adoption of solar and small wind energy in Illinois. We welcome your feedback and referral of newsworthy developments. 

  • 20 Oct 2010 10:30 AM | Michelle Hickey
    Pollution from Chicago’s two coal plants has created up to $1 billion in health and related damages in the last 8 years, according to a report released today by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). The report uses data from the National Research Council that found that particulate matter, or soot, from the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Chicago created $127 million in health and related damages in 2005. Using that model, ELPC analyzed pollution emissions data and found that the two plants have created between $750 million and $1 billion in public health damages since 2002.

    “The public can’t afford the huge health costs from the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in Chicago neighborhoods.” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “It’s time for Midwest Generation to be socially responsible and clean them up or shut them down.”

    ...ELPC’s report, titled Midwest Generation’s “Unpaid Health Bills”: The Hidden Public Costs of Soot and Smog from the Fisk and Crawford Coal Plants in Chicago” examines recent scientific research on the health effects of soot and smog pollution from coal plants. A variety of authoritative scientific panels have found that particulate matter pollution from coal plants harms public health, causing premature death, heart attacks, cardiovascular and respiratory disease and other problems. The economic impact of these health problems is borne by the public. (more)
  • 18 Oct 2010 11:13 AM | Michelle Hickey

    EDWARDSVILLE- Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Warren Ribley visited Edwardsville Community Unit School District #7 today to announce $447,400 in funding to help pay for installation of solar panel systems in four of the district's schools. Director Ribley was joined by Superintendent Dr. Ed Hightower and State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) at Lincoln Middle School.

    "Illinois boasts significant potential for renewable power and heating including wind, solar, and biogas, which all offer both economic and environmental benefits," said Director Ribley. "Enabling District 7 to utilize clean, solar power will decrease the district's utility bills and bring us one step closer to breaking our dependence on foreign oil."

    Edwardsville Community Unit School District 7 will have 24.95 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic systems installed at four schools (Cassens Elementary, Goshen Elementary, Liberty Middle School, and Worden Elementary) for a total solar capacity of 99.8 kW.  The systems will produce approximately 140,000 kilowatt hours per year, which is equivalent to an annual reduction in CO2 emissions from 234 barrels of oil consumed and the annual reduction in green house gas emissions from 19.2 cars. (more)

    Photo by Marci Winters-McLaughlin, Edwardsville Intelligencer
  • 18 Oct 2010 11:05 AM | Michelle Hickey

    Soon, parts of the landscape in Henry County, Illinois could be dotted not only with crops but also with wind turbines.

    Two companies are very interested in establishing renewable energy, perhaps more than two hundred turbines.

    County Administrator Colleen Gillaspie says the projects could create substantial tax revenue for cities and schools. The companies would also pay building permit fees. More than 200 jobs would be created. Some of those jobs would be permanent. (more)

  • 11 Oct 2010 2:31 PM | Michelle Hickey

    CHICAGO – October 10, 2010.  Governor Quinn today announced plans to install solar panels at the executive mansion in Springfield as part of the 10/10/10 Global Work Party. The Global Work Party, which takes place on Oct. 10, is a day of action to fight climate change. Established by 350.org, the celebration unites more than 7,000 events in 183 different countries to help find solutions to climate change.

    “I am pleased to announce plans to bring the Illinois Governor’s Mansion into the 21st  century with a new set of solar panels”, said Governor Quinn. “We must do everything we can to increase our use of solar energy, which will help us protect natural resources and reduce our reliance on traditional energy sources.”

    The solar panels to be installed were donated by WindFree Energy Company in Chicago and BYD America in Arlington Heights. The racking and bracketing was provided by B. Weinstein Engineering in Highland Park. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 193 is donating the labor to install this project. (more)

  • 08 Oct 2010 2:41 PM | Michelle Hickey
    The Environmental Law Institute issued a report titled, "Estimating U.S. Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002-2008."

    Executive Summary
    The current energy and climate debate would benefit from a broader understanding of the explicit and hidden government subsidies that affect energy use throughout the economy. In an effort to examine this issue, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) conducted a review of fossil fuel and renewable energy subsidies for Fiscal Years 2002-2008. This paper and Appendix describe the approach used to identify and quantify the subsidies presented in the accompanying graphic. ELI researchers used a standardized methodology to calculate government expenditures. Where this methodology was lacking or did not apply, ELI researchers calculated subsidy values on a case-by-case basis.
     
    Applying a conservative approach, explained in further detail below, ELI found that
     
    • The vast majority of federal subsidies for fossil fuels and renewable energy supported energy sources that emit high levels of greenhouse gases when used as fuel.
    • The federal government provided substantially larger subsidies to fossil fuels than to renewables. Subsidies to fossil fuels—a mature, developed industry that has enjoyed government support for many years—totaled approximately $72 billion over the study period, representing a direct cost to taxpayers.
    • Subsidies for renewable fuels, a relatively young and developing industry, totaled $29 billion over the same period.
    • Subsidies to fossil fuels generally increased over the study period (though they decreased in 2008), while funding for renewables increased but saw a precipitous drop in 2006-07 (though they increased in 2008).
    • Most of the largest subsidies to fossil fuels were written into the U.S. Tax Code as permanent provisions. By comparison, many subsidies for renewables are time-limited initiatives implemented through energy bills, with expiration dates that limit their usefulness to the renewables industry. (read full summary and graphs)
  • 08 Oct 2010 2:11 PM | Michelle Hickey


    From Vote Solar..."The report was released October 7th and is titled, 'Supporting Solar Power in Renewables Portfolio Standards: Experience from the United States.' Research found that well-designed RPS programs are already an important, albeit modest, driver for solar development in the U.S. and that those impacts are projected to significantly expand in the coming years.

    According to renewable advocates, the report provides an important guide to opportunities, challenges and proven best practices for RPS designs that successfully support solar energy."

    Click here to read the full press release and download the report & presentation.

  • 08 Oct 2010 2:07 PM | Michelle Hickey
    Many Americans believe they can save energy with small behavior changes that actually achieve very little, and severely underestimate the major effects of switching to efficient, currently available technologies, says a new survey of Americans in 34 states.

    ...The largest group, nearly 20 percent, cited turning off lights as the best approach—an action that affects energy budgets relatively little. Very few cited buying decisions that experts say would cut U.S. energy consumption dramatically, such as more efficient cars (cited by only 2.8 percent), more efficient appliances (cited by 3.2 percent) or weatherizing homes (cited by 2.1 percent). Previous researchers have concluded that households could reduce energy consumption some 30 percent by making such choices—all without waiting for new technologies, making big economic sacrifices or losing their sense of well-being. (read full article)
  • 05 Oct 2010 1:53 PM | Michelle Hickey
    The White House Council on Environmental Quality will hold the first GreenGov Symposium on October 5-7, 2010, hosted by The George Washington University on its Foggy Bottom Campus in Washington, DC.

    The 2010 GreenGov Symposium represents the first time the Obama Administration will bring together leaders from Federal, state and local governments, nonprofit and academic communities and the private sector to identify opportunities around greening the Federal Government. During the three day educational event, participants will share challenges and best practices, and discuss cutting-edge approaches for the future. (full article)
  • 05 Oct 2010 1:41 PM | Michelle Hickey
    The most famous residence in America, which has already boosted its green credentials by planting a garden, plans to install solar panels atop the White House's living quarters. The solar panels are to be installed by spring 2011, and will heat water for the first family and supply some electricity.

    ...Based on available roof space, administration officials expect the photovoltaic system will include between 25 to 75 panels and will convert sunlight into 19,700 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. That would save a typical household $2,300 on its electricity bill, based on commercial rates in Washington. The solar hot water heating system, based on government estimates, could save an additional $1,000 a year. (full story)
  • 03 Oct 2010 9:53 AM | Michelle Hickey

 

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