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More than $1B in new state and local initiatives for clean energy announced

October 21, 2021

New York City and the state of Illinois have both made moves recently to shift more of their economies to clean energy. Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced a 15-year, $191 million Offshore Wind Vision (OSW) plan to make New York City a leading destination for the offshore wind industry.  Last month, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed sweeping legislation offering new incentives for the adoption of clean energy and aim to move it to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. And Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is looking to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to establish a clean energy investment fund.

The Massachusetts governor announced that he will file legislation to direct $750 million to support the state’s clean energy industry that would support innovation, research and development, and job training in the clean energy sector, utilizing funding through the American Rescue Plan Act. The creation of the $750 million Clean Energy Investment Fund would be the single largest investment in the clean energy economy in Massachusetts to date and move the state toward its target of net zero emissions in 2050.

In addition to the goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050, the Illinois plan targets 40 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040. Beside putting the state on a path to clean energy, the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act also invests in training a diverse workforce for the jobs of the future, institutes key ratepayer and residential customer protections, and prioritizes meaningful ethics and transparency reforms. 

A Chicago Tribune story also detailed how the legislation could provide an opportunity for consumers to save money while installing solar panels by using state incentives and rebates on federal taxes; get a rebate of $4,000 when buying an electric car; or take advantage of a community solar plan to save from 5 to 10 percent on electricity bills. There is also money for low-income homes to go solar as well as make their home more energy efficient.

The plan includes creating: three Climate Works Hubs throughout the state which will be administered by DCEO and will recruit, prescreen, and provide pre-apprenticeship training to equity focused populations; a clean energy contractor incubator program to provide access to low-cost capital and financial support for small clean energy businesses and contractors; a jobs and environmental justice grant program to provide upfront and seed capital to support community ownership and development of renewable energy projects; and, an Energy Transition Workforce Commission to report on anticipated impacts of transitioning to a clean energy economy and recommend changes to the workforce through 2050. A copy of the Illinois legislation can be found here.

The NYC plan, which also commits to developing good-paying, green jobs in disadvantaged neighborhoods historically impacted by climate injustice, is focused on three core areas: sites and infrastructure; business and workforce; and, research and innovation. The plan is a part of the city’s commitment to 100 percent clean electricity by 2041 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

The plan calls for partnerships with organizations, institutions and government to support the development of OSW technologies and to building facilities to bring research to market. In working with the OSW industry and local innovation partners, NYCEDC will support the launch of an offshore wind–focused accelerator. NYCEDC also says it will leverage federal government funding for R&D alongside investments from NYC and will partner with research institutions to build facilities to conduct research, facilitate bringing lab research to market, and deliver programming connecting non-NYC research institutions — including federal labs — with the NYC ecosystem.

To ensure that the plan makes progress, NYCEDC will establish an Offshore Wind Industry Advisory Council. The plan argues that with the right investments, offshore wind could become a cornerstone of the city’s green energy economy with the potential to ensure that 40 percent of job and investment benefits be directed to women, minorities and environmental justice communities. Read the full plan here.

Illinois, Massachusetts, New Yorkclean energy, economy, climate, investing, jobs, wind