Energy policy in Illinois
Energy • Environment • Fracking • Public education • Higher education • School choice • Charter schools • Public pensions • State budget and finances • Taxes • Voting • Ballot access • Redistricting
- 1 Energy overview
- 2 Energy policy
- 3 In the news
- 4 See also
- 5 External links
- 6 References
Energy policy in Illinois depends on geography, natural energy resources, how electricity is generated, how much energy consumers use, politics and the influence of groups such as environmental and industry organizations. Decisions by policymakers, such as state and local governments, utilities and regulatory agencies, affect all citizens economically and environmentally, and are generally geared toward providing reliable, affordable energy. The cost of energy affects not only home heating and electricity bills, and thus disposable income, but also economic growth, including jobs, investment and the cost of doing business in the state.
How energy is produced and consumed also has an impact on the environment and pollution. Energy policy in Illinois, and many other states, focuses on decreasing emissions and dependence on fossil fuels by increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. As the infrastructure for producing and delivering renewable energy sources is not as advanced as it is for energy generation from traditional sources, these policies often require subsidies to make the produced energy affordable, and their effects are difficult to measure.
Energy policy involves trade-offs between providing an affordable, consistent energy supply on the one hand, and limiting pollution and protecting the environment, on the other. How states attempt to balance these two differs between states, and often boils down to costs to consumers versus costs to the environment. This article provides general energy information about the state as the context within which energy policy is made, as well as information about major legislation and public and private groups that play a role in setting energy policy in the state.
Below are quick facts about Illinois’s energy climate.
- is a net electricity exporter.
- has fossil fuels in the form of coal, petroleum and natural gas.
- has renewable energy in the form of wind, biomass and biofuels, hydropower and solar energy.
- ranks third in the nation for ethanol production in 2011.
- leads the nation in biodiesel manufacturing.
- ranked first in generating capacity and total electricity generation for nuclear power plants in 2010.
- mandates that utilities with more than 100,000 customers obtain 25 percent of sales from renewable resources by 2026.
- ranks in the top ten in petroleum consumption among the states.
- households consume 44 percent more energy than the nation's average.
- energy consumption per capita is below the national median.
- natural gas is used in about four-fifths of homes.
- renewable energy sources made up almost 13 percent of net energy generation in 2011.
- industry is the largest energy-consuming sector in the state.
Available energy resources
Illinois has traditional energy resources including oil and coal. Illinois lacks natural gas and imports nearly all that is consumed in the state. Because Illinois produces coal and petroleum, it ships the resources by truck, river and rail to 18 states. The state's petroleum refineries supply both domestic and international crude oil.
Illinois has renewable energy resources that contributed almost 13 percent of the energy used for electricity in 2011 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Wind generation is the state's main renewable energy producer. In 2012 Illinois was ranked in the top five states for wind capacity installations with more than 3,500 megawatts (MW) of production capacity. Biomass is also generated in the state and mainly comes from municipal landfills. Only a small portion of renewable energy comes from hydroelectric energy because of the state's largely flat terrain and expansive prairies. Ethanol production reaches the capacity of 1.5 billion gallons per year, ranking it third in the nation. Biofuels are also an important component of Illinois' renewable resources. The state follows second to Texas in biodiesel production capacity.
Consumption and prices
|Energy consumption in Illinois|
Transportation Residential Industrial Commercial
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As shown on the pie chart, in 2011, 30 percent of Illinois's energy use was for industrial, one-fourth for transportation, one-fourth for residential, and the rest was used in the commercial sector. Illinois manufacturing industries are important to the state's economy. The state's manufacturing facilities include processed foods, petroleum refining, metal fabrication and chemicals. Most of the energy used in the state is in the form of coal (used primarily for electricity generation), followed by electricity and natural gas. Gasoline, used in transportation, accounts for almost 50 percent of the petroleum consumed in the state. Petroleum consumption in Illinois is among the top ten states in the nation.
Generally the price of gasoline in the state tracks above the national average. According to the EIA's February 2014 report, the federal excise tax is 18.40 cents/gallon of gasoline and 24.40 cents/gallon of diesel fuel. Illinois has an excise tax on gasoline, of 19 cents per gallon on gas, an additional tax of 20 cents per gallon, totaling 39.1 cents per gallon, making gas taxes in Illinois the fifth highest in the nation.
The table below compares Illinois's consumption and spending for energy, as well as prices for gas and electricity, and carbon emissions to those of Ohio, which has similar population, resources and consumption needs because of climate and geography. These two states are very similarly placed in the high rank on population, overall consumption and overall spending. Also given are the U.S. averages and the state rankings. All rankings are from highest to lowest, so, for example:
- Illinois's rank of sixth in carbon emissions means that carbon emissions are slightly lower in Illinois than in Ohio, which has a ranking of fourth, although both have high levels of emissions.
- Per capita income in Illinois is higher than the national average, and much higher than in Ohio, which at 31st ranks 14 places behind Illinois's ranking of 17th.
- Per capita energy consumption in Illinois (at 27th) is somewhat lower than in Ohio (at 21st), but per capita spending in Illinois is significantly lower because it ranks 40th to Ohio's ranking of 27th.
- This is somewhat surprising because natural gas prices are lower in Illinois ranking 46th while Ohio ranks 33rd.
- Illinois ranked 37th for electricity prices, while prices are higher in Ohio at 19th.
The lower price of electricity in Illinois may result from the fact that Ohio consumes more coal than Illinois and imports electricity. Coal is becoming more expensive because it is being so heavily regulated, due to its carbon emissions.
|Consumption and Expenditures Comparisons Summary|
|Figure||U.S. Rank*||Figure||U.S. Rank*||Totals|
|Population||12.9 million||5||11.5 million||7||313.9 million|
|Per Capita Income Average||$44,815||17||$39,289||31||$42,693|
|Total Consumption||3,978 trillion BTU||5||3,828 trillion BTU||6||97,301 quadrillion BTU|
|Per Capita Energy Consumption||309 million BTU||27||332 million BTU||21||312 million BTU|
|Total Spending on Energy||$50,925 million||7||$50.996 million||6||$1,394,088 million|
|Per Capita Spending on Energy||$3,960||40||$4,419||27||$4,474|
|Price of Residential Natural Gas, dollar per thousand cubic feet||$9.65||46||$15.42||33||$12.48|
|Price of Electricity, cents per kWh||10.86||37||11.99||19||12.31|
|Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions, million metric tons (2010)||230.4||6||249.1||4||5,631|
|*Rank is from highest to lowest.|
- See also: State Energy Rankings to compare all 50 states
|Consumption of energy for heating homes in Illinois|
|Source||Illinois 2011||U.S. average 2011|
|Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG)||4.1%||5%|
Production and transmission
Illinois produced 2,200.5 BTU of energy in 2011. Of that 45 percent came from nuclear and nearly 40 percent came from coal. The remaining 15 percent came mainly from biofuels, crude oil and what the U.S. Energy Information Administration classifies as 'other,' which is "assumed to equal consumption of all renewable energies except biofuels."
|Energy production by type in Illinois, 2011|
|% of State||% of USA|
Nuclear power provides almost half of the state's electricity and is produced at six nuclear plants owned by two corporations. Exelon Generation Co. LLC owns most of the stations: Byron Generating Station, Braidwood Generating Station, LaSalle Generating Station, Quad Cities Generating Station and Dresden Generating Station. The Clinton Power Station is owned by AmerGen Energy Co LLC.
Of the state's total production, coal makes up 45 percent. Major coal mines include the American Coal Company New (also known as the American Coal Company) and Mach #1 Mine owned by Mach Mining LLC.
Natural gas produces about 1 percent of the state's energy, much less compared to the state's other resources. Although it does not produce much natural gas, Illinois is a key transportation hub for the resource with more than a dozen interstate pipelines and two market centers. Most of the natural gas comes from Iowa and Missouri. The Chicago Hub and ANR Joliet Hub are the two natural gas market centers. Interstate natural gas pipelines include ANR Pipeline Co., Alliance Pipeline Co., Midwestern Gas Transmissions Co., Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, Mississippi River Transmission Corp., Northern Border Pipeline Co., Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Co., Northern Natural Gas Co., Rockies Express Pipeline, Texas Gas Transmission Co., Texas Eastern Transmission Corp., Vector Pipeline Co. and Trunkline Gas Co.
|Where electricity comes from in Illinois|
|Type||Amount generated (MWh)||% of state**||% of U.S.**|
|Total net electricity generation||16,377,000||100%||0.4%|
|**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.|
All of the coal used in electricity generation is mined and used within Illinois. Most of the resource is sent to coal-fired nuclear plants to generate electricity.
- See also: Fracking in Illinois
Energy policy is made, executed and influenced by many organizations, both public and private, and is codified in the laws and regulations of the state. Each state’s energy policy involves trade-offs in which energy production and prices are weighed against environmental concerns and efficiency. Illinois has been progressive regarding energy efficiency and renewable energy use. Although the state does not contribute much renewable energy to total electric power generation, the state has made significant improvements over the past decade. The Illinois RPS mandates that electric investor-owned utilities with 100,000 or more customers have at least 25 percent of sales from renewable resources by 2026.
Illinois ranked 10th on the Energy Efficiency Scorecard produced by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. There are differing estimates about the economic impact of these mandates in terms of costs that may affect prices and jobs, as well as the impact on the environment and pollution. Thus, for example, there are many new studies of what is called the "rebound effect" which refers to the fact that "some of the theoretically estimated gains in energy efficiency will be eroded as consumers consume additional goods and services."
- Illinois Energy Conservation Code (IECC), passed in 2009, mandates that all new residential and commercial construction follow a statewide energy conservation code. To add to this, renovations, additions, alterations and repairs must also adhere to the standards. As of 2012, the most recent printing of the International Energy Conservation Code and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) must be followed by all construction managers statewide. Local governments are allowed to adopt stricter laws for commercial buildings. However, they cannot do the same for residential buildings.
- Illinois Public Act 095-0481 (2007) created the Illinois Power Agency (IPA). The agency plans and manages procurements and agreements between utilities and wholesale electric suppliers. Their major procurement plans are to satisfy Illinois' renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements. The standard mandates that electric investor-owned utilities with 100,000 or more customers must have 25 percent of sales from renewable resources by 2026.
- Illinois Power Agency Act (IPAA), passed in 2007, mandates that both natural gas and electric utilities create yearly energy saving targets. They must also "reduce energy delivered and peak demand." Beginning in 2007, Illinois utilities were required to file a demand-response plan and an energy efficiency plan with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) every three years. The electric sales reduction goal for 2015 is 1.8 percent. Total targeted natural gas savings for the same year is 2 percent.
- The Energy Efficient Building Act (2009) requires the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) to manage and implement the Illinois Energy Conservation Code by 2010. The code has different standards for residential, commercial and a code change cycle. Residential buildings can only have three or fewer stories in height, or a maximum of four in Chicago. Commercial buildings are required to follow the Illinois Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which is regulated statewide. The code is automatically updated by the Capital Development Board to adopt new versions of the IECC within nine months of the publication and three months after an effective date. The code was most recently updated on January 29, 2010.
- The Green Buildings Act (2009) requires that all newly constructed state-funded buildings or substantial renovations seek Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), Green Globes, or similar certification. The act also requires all projects be given the highest level of certification that fits within the project budget. For buildings under 10,000 square feet, an actual certification is not required. For buildings over 10,000 square feet, a LEED silver rating or a comparable rating given by another organization is mandated. All projects must meet at least one LEED energy efficient transportation criteria. An example would be bicycle accesses or public transportation.
Ballot measuresBelow is a list of energy related ballot measures across Illinois. These ballot measures cover issues from fracking bans, to utilities and related tax questions.
- Albers Village Electrical Aggregation Question (November 2012)
- Annawan Village Electrical Aggregation Question (November 2012)
- Arcola City Electrical Aggregation Question (November 2012)
- Arlington Heights Village Electrical Aggregation Question (March 2012)
- Aroma Park Electrical Aggregation Question (November 2012)
Government agencies and committees
- Within the Illinois State Legislature the Illinois Senate has two subcommittees dealing with energy issues the Energy Committee and the Environment Committee. The House also has two committees dealing with energy and environmental issues the Energy Committee and the Environmental Committee.
- Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), an independent regulatory agency that oversees Illinois' public utilities, including those that are municipally-owned. Types of utilities regulated include electric, natural gas, water, combined water and sewer utilities and certain aspects of local telephone service. The ICC is composed of five members who decide cases brought to the ICC for changes in utility operations, rates and for construction projects. Commissioners are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate for staggered, five-year terms. Under Illinois Law, at most three commissioners may belong to the same political party.
- The Illinois State Energy Office is under the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and in partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago Energy Resources Center. The office provides information on biofuels, electric vehicles, IECC building codes, recycling, renewable energy and other resources. The web page identifies available Illinois public funding for efficient energy and their Energy Now Program with the University of Illinois.
- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is responsible for managing Illinois' natural, cultural and recreational resources for current and future generations and educating the public about these resources. The Director of the IDNR oversees the department. The IDNR is the main party responsible for enforcing the 2013 Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act. The IDNR also oversees 12 offices, complexes or museums.
- The Illinois Municipal Utilities Association (IMUA) is a non-profit corporation that functions as a trade association. Participating utility groups include electric, natural gas, water, wastewater and telecommunications. Together they make up 64 municipalities, 55 associate members and seven affiliate members. A board of 17 members makes decisions on policies and collects dues from members. The IMUA's services include utility training, safety workshops, emergency aid, legislative and regulatory oversight, general communications and special meetings.
- The Illinois Renewable Energy Association (IREA) supports the development of sustainable energy in Illinois. The group makes hands-on opportunities available to the Illinois public about the potentials, benefits and uses of energy efficiency and renewable energy for homes and businesses. The association also hosts the annual Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair.
- The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation is an independent foundation and was established in 1999. Commonwealth Edison, the largest electric utility in Illinois known as Exelon Company, provided a $225 million endowment for the group. They aim to grow the development of renewable energy resources, improve energy efficiency and to protect natural areas statewide. The foundation has underwritten many clean energy investments over the past 14 years. They have provided $204 million to Illinois non-profit organizations, municipalities, schools and other local and state government agencies through more than 4,300 awarded grants.
- University of Illinois Energy Resources Center (ERC) is a public research, service and special project organization that is dedicated to improving energy efficiency and protecting the environment. The center was established in 1973 by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and aims to conduct studies on energy and the environment and to provide utilities, industry, government agencies and the public with information, assistance and advice on public policy, technologies and professional training.
In the news
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Illinois+Energy+Policy"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Illinois Profile at the U.S. Energy Information Administration
- Illinois Profile at National Association of State Energy Officials
- National Association of State Energy Officials, "Illinois," accessed March 9, 2014
- These figures come from the U.S. Energy Information Administration State Profiles and Energy Estimates, Illinois Overview. Statistics for population and per capita income are for the year 2012; consumption and spending estimates are for 2011; and prices are for October 2013. Updated pricing information is available on the state's EIA profile. Prices will be updated on this page biannually.
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Illinois Overview," accessed March 6, 2014
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Illinois Profile Overview," accessed March 6, 2014
- This chart depicts the state's energy consumption as reported by the EIA for 2011. Click the image to enlarge.
- Gas Buddy, “Historical Gas Charts,” accessed March 6, 2014
- To compare current gasoline prices in Illinois to the U.S averages, go to GasBuddy.com
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Petroleum Marketing Monthly," February 2014," accessed February 14, 2014
- Tax Foundation, "State Gasoline Tax Rates, 2009-2013," March 21, 2013," accessed February 19, 2014
- Institute for Energy Research Study, "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States" found that in 2010 electricity prices in states with RPS were an average of 38 percent higher than in states without RPS
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Ohio Profile Overview," accessed March 6, 2014
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, “State Energy Data System, Production,” accessed February 18, 2014
- These figures come from the EIA State Profiles and Energy Estimates U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Illinois Overview," accessed March 6, 2014
- Plug In Illinois, "List of Suppliers," accessed March 6, 2014
- Illinois Commerce Commission, "Electric, Gas, Water and Sewer Utilities Annual Report 2013," January 31, 2014, accessed March 6, 2014
- Illinois Municipal Electric Agency, "Annual Report 2013," accessed March 6, 2014
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Illinois Overview," accessed March 6, 2014
- According to a report called "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," by the free-market Institute for Energy Research, the cost of electricity in states with RPS were on average 38 percent higher in 2010 than in states without a RPS.
- Institute for Energy Research, "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," accessed March 24, 2014
- Manhattan Institute, "The High Cost of Renewable-Energy Mandates," February 2012
- For a full explanation of how the ACEEE calculates this ranking see the executive summary of their report here: 
- International Risk Governance Council, "The Rebound Effect: Implications of Consumer Behavior for Robust Energy Policies," accessed March 3, 2014
- Scientific American, "How Bad Is the Rebound from Energy Efficiency Efforts?," May 21, 2013, accessed March 3, 2014
- Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, "Illinois Energy Conservation Code for Commercial and Residential Buildings," accessed March 6, 2014
- Database of State incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, "Illinois," September 7, 2012
- Database of State incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, "Illinois," August 16, 2012
- Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, "Illinois Energy Conservation Code for Commercial and Residential Buildings," accessed March 6, 2014
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, "Illinois," August 30, 2012, accessed March 6, 2014
- Law of the Land, "Illinois Adopts Green Buildings Act," November 29, 2009, accessed March 6, 2014
- Illinois General Assembly, "House Committees," accessed March 6, 2014
- Illinois General Assembly, "Senate Committees," accessed March 6, 2014
- Illinois Commerce Commission, "Public Utility," accessed March 6, 2014
- University of Illinois, "Energy Resources Center," accessed March 6, 2013
- "Illinois Department of Natural Resources," "Mission Statement," accessed March 5, 2014
- "Illinois Department of Natural Resources," "Did You Know? DNR Facts and Figures," accessed March 5, 2014
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- Illinois Municipal Utilities Association, "Home," accessed March 6, 2013
- Illinois Renewable Energy Association, "Home," accessed March 6, 2013
- Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, "About the Foundation," accessed March 6, 2013
- University of Illinois Energy Resources Center (ERC), "Overview," accessed March 6, 2013
State of Illinois
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | Comptroller | Auditor General | Superintendent of Education | Director of Insurance | Director of Agriculture | Director of Natural Resources | Director of Labor | Chairman of Commerce Commission |