Upgridding Illinois

State kicks off ambitious ‘utility of the future’ process

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approved a process yesterday called “NextGrid” to begin building what it calls “a smarter, more dynamic electric system that allows for greater customer choice and control.” This means more advanced technologies—rooftop solar, electric vehicles, and energy storage—will be deployed at scale due to Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act, which is built to double the state’s energy efficiency portfolio and kick-start renewable energy development. Environmental Defense Fund and the Citizens Utilities Board (CUB) also have been pushing for a new regulatory framework aimed at empowering customers and communities, driving economic development, and creating an innovative, 21st-century utility business model.

“After the historic passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act last year, Illinois is once again making clean energy headlines,” said Dick Munson, Director, Midwest Clean Energy, “The ‘NextGrid’ process will reimagine how electric utilities can best serve Illinoisans, ensuring customers can play a more active role in how their electricity is made, moved, and used. Environmental Defense Fund is ready to roll up its sleeves and help build a healthier energy system.”

Illinois schools have taken similar steps over the past three years thanks to the Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation, as shown below:

 

CUB Executive Director David Kolata added that consumer value is a key linchpin to the new plan.

“CUB thanks the ICC for launching NextGrid, and we look forward to participating in this effort during a time of dramatic change in the energy industry,” Kolata said, “As Illinois revamps its power grid and prepares to implement the Future Energy Jobs Act, one of the key challenges is: How do we maximize consumer value? The NextGrid is a vital step toward that goal. This is a great opportunity to create the regulatory framework necessary to allow Illinois consumers to take full advantage of an electricity system that is more reliable and more affordable.”

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