Illinois legislators are evaluating two different proposed clean energy bills that would accelerate renewable energy growth in the state. One bill, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) would focus on consumer protection, expanding energy efficiency programs, increasing EV charging stations and protecting existing clean energy jobs in the state.[1] The second bill, Path to 100, focuses more on funding clean energy jobs.[2] Both bills seek to ensure Illinois achieves 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.[3]

CEJA would continue to fund and expand programs established by the 2014 Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA),[4] which has lowered the cost of Illinois energy bills from some of the highest in the country to some of the lowest.[5] Funding from the 2014 Act is running low, and CEJA would protect thousands of clean energy jobs by bolstering funding for those programs.[6] The most ambitious provisions in the bill seek to achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030 and 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.[7]

One of the major differences between Path to 100 and CEJA is the issue of capacity market reform.[8] Broadly speaking, electricity providers purchase energy on the wholesale market in what is known as the Base Residual Auction.[9] There, electricity providers bid on a variety of energy resources to cover future predicted energy loads, to a level that would cover peak electricity demand.[10]

CEJA advocates argue that the current set-up—purchasing power through wholesale energy markets overseen by FERC—disadvantages renewable resources.[11] The bill’s capacity market reforms would attempt to correct for that by adjusting the most expensive unit needed to meet demand, but at a lower cost.[12] Companies with more energy installations oppose these reforms since its directly cuts down business, while companies with new sources of energy have fewer installations and naturally favor capacity market reform.[13]

Supporters of the Path to 100 bill contend it offers immediate funding for renewable projects without having to worry about planning and negotiating capacity market reform, which requires more time and legal wrangling to work out the complex details.[14]

Discussion about CEJA have slowed in the wake of the federal corruption investigation into Common Wealth Edison (ComEd) and the more immediate concern of containing the spread of COVID-19.[15]  Exelon, ComEd’s parent company, supported CEJA; however, the investigation has left interest groups and legislators silent on the bill to distance themselves from ComEd.[16] Legislators have updated the bill to seek restitution from ComEd and address the communities impacted by jobs lost in the fossil fuel industry due to the transition to cleaner forms of energy.[17] Despite their differences, stakeholders claim that legislators will likely combine the two bills once the Illinois legislature convenes in November.[18]

[1] Kari Lydersen, Labor coalition joins the fray over Illinois clean energy legislation, Energy News Network, (Sept. 24, 2020),

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Citizens Utility Board, IL power bills lowest in the Midwest (again)–but that advantage is threatened (Nov. 2, 2019),

[6] Lydersen, supra note 1.

[7] Jessica Collingsworth, CEJA can deliver on Governor Pritzker’s Eight Principles for a Clean and Renewable Illinois Economy, Union of Concerned Scientists (Aug. 31, 2020),

[8] Lydersen, supra note 1.

[9] Adam Jones, Explainer: How capacity markets work, Energy News Network (June 17, 2013),

[10] Id.

[11] Lydersen, supra note 1.

[12] Collingsworth, supra note 6.

[13] See id.

[14] Jerry Nowicki & Capitol news Illinois, Path to 100 Backers Call for Bill’s Passage, Diversity in Renewable Energy, NPR (Oct. 15, 2020),

[15] Lulia Gheorghiu, ComEd admits to bribery charge in Illinois, agrees to pay $200M fine, Utility Drive (July 20, 2020),

[16] Collingsworth, supra note 6.

[17] Lulia Gheoghiu, After ComEd bribery case, Illinois groups push for changes to clean energy bill, Utility Dive (Aug. 6, 2020),

[18] Id.; Lydersen, supra note 1.