Report from Illinois Smart Grid Initiative Explores the Benefits of a Modern Electricity Grid in Illinois
Chicago, IL - Today, the Illinois Smart Grid Initiative (ISGI) released “Empowering Consumers through a Modern Electric Grid”, a report on the potential benefits of a modernized electric grid that maps a policy path for achieving those benefits for consumers and the economy. At a time when both President Obama’s Administration and Congress have prioritized electric grid modernization and the jobs potential it holds, Illinois is well positioned to become the national leader in the adoption of a truly consumer-focused smart grid.
Illinois residents face $6-11 billion annually in costs related to power outages and power disruptions, with many communities experiencing outage levels far above the national average. The ISGI Report outlines how a smart grid can fundamentally improve reliability and efficiency, integrate renewable energy on the local level, and empower consumers to take charge of and reduce their electricity bills–while saving energy and reducing carbon emissions.
Kathryn Tholin, CEO of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, which coordinated the ISGI with support from the Galvin Electricity Initiative, stated, “The ISGI workshop meetings we held were critical for getting policy makers in Illinois focused on the potential benefits of the Smart Grid. The release of this report will help provide key guidance for stakeholders as they get down to the nuts and bolts of smart grid implementation in Illinois.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes $4.5 billion in funding now available for smart grid technology–funds that can accelerate and expand Illinois’ investment in smart grid infrastructure. Illinois’ leadership in engaging stakeholders can ensure that the state is fully prepared to take hold of its energy, economic and environmental future.
The ISGI Report identifies several steps that can be taken right now to improve the electricity system for the benefit of all Illinois citizens. It encourages increasing consumer choice by pairing real-time electricity rates with smart technology, and urges regulatory rule changes that encourage public and private investment in energy efficient smart grids. Finally, investing in the smart grid can open the door to new ‘green power’, high-tech business opportunities in communities throughout the state.
Currently, Illinois is the national leader in offering residential customers real-time pricing options, and is among the leading states in mandating increased renewables and energy efficiency. Using the economic stimulus bill as one catalyst, the ISGI Report maps out how Illinois can transform the electric grid into a smart grid and set the standard for the nation in stimulating the economy and protecting the environment.
Summary and Full Reports of “Empowering Consumers through a Modern Electric Grid” are available at www.ilsmartgrid.org.