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Published March 9, 2014 09:32 PM

Illinois - 1.7 million people choose 100% green electricity

Illinois is one of six US states that allows communities to aggregate and specify their energy purchases. Now 91 - comprising 1.7 million people - have used that power to buy 100% renewable electricity.

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Illinois has embraced renewable electricity on a massive scale not seen anywhere else in the nation, says a new report, Leading from the Middle: How Illinois Communities Unleashed Renewable Energy.

With 91 communities providing 100 percent renewable electricity to their residents, the state far outpaces any other, including Ohio, which has two cities providing 100% renewable electricity.

The report was released today by World Wildlife Fund, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, LEAN Energy US, the Illinois Solar Energy Association, Illinois Sierra Club, and The George Washington University Solar Institute.

A collective movement for change

"The findings of today's report are an example of Illinois leading our country's movement to a more sustainable future from the community level", said Sen. Dick Durbin.
"Communities up and down the state have banded together to pursue renewable electricity, reducing both their utility costs and the state's environmental footprint. Illinois is showing what can happen when change at the local level is harnessed to create a collective movement, and I hope other states take notice."

Each community in Illinois independently voted to purchase electricity through renewable energy credits, leveraging their group buying power to receive renewable electricity while also reducing overall electricity cost.

"Without fanfare, 91 local governments in Illinois have decided that renewable electricity is the best option", said Keya Chatterjee, director of renewable energy and footprint outreach at WWF. "No one knew this was happening, and I doubt anyone would have guessed. America's green energy revolution is here; and it starts in Illinois."

The 91 communities that have transitioned to 100% renewable electricity represent more than 1.7 million individuals. Demand for renewable energy from the state is more than six terawatt hours, a reduction in greenhouse gas comparable to taking more than one million cars off the road.

Communities can specify the mix of energy sources

"We are seeing the power of letting communities choose their electricity supply", said Sarah Wochos, senior policy advocate at the Environmental Law & Policy Center. "Across Illinois, cities and towns are asking for clean, renewable energy, and we encourage them to use that power to bring new renewable energy projects to their communities."

Continue reading at ENN affiliate, The Ecologist.

Windmill image via Shutterstock.

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