A carbon tax would fix Illinois’s renewable energy mandate problem

Illinois’s renewable energy fund lacks power to fulfill purpose:  customers’ defections to other suppliers; language in Illinois law are hindering investment in green electricity — Chicago  Tribune 5-13-13.

Five years ago, Illinois passed legislation requiring electric suppliers to buy more renewable energy such as wind and solar power and then pass those costs on to customers.

The intent of the mandate was to have so-called green electricity accounting for a quarter of the power flowing into residences and businesses by 2025 while fostering homegrown jobs and cleaner air.

But that was before customers of the state’s two major electric utilities defected en masse to other suppliers that purchase power on the open market. With that move, the state is falling short of its green mandate, because money being collected from customers by these other energy suppliers isn’t being used for green energy purchases.

Instead, the money is going into a fund that’s sitting untapped because of obscure language in state law.

That $15 million account is on track to balloon to nearly $135 million by the end of 2014, according to the Illinois Power Agency, the state agency tasked with spending the funds.

To read full article click here.

Imagine the United States had a carbon tax, as described at Citizens Climate Lobby or carbontax.org or Boxer-Sanders Senate Climate Protection Act.

Institution of a carbon tax is one way to fix Illinois’s legislative mess by making renewable energy cheaper.  Customers  would then switch back to companies that buy electricity from renewable sources.  Let’s educate our state and federal legislators about this.

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