Illinois Unveils Plan for Energy Independence

Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich unveiled a long-term, five-part energy plan to cut in half Illinois’ dependence on foreign oil using homegrown alternative sources by 2017. While some of the plan focuses on coal, the renewable sources include state crops.

That part of the plan calls for expanding renewable energy production by tripling ethanol production and reducing energy use through investments in energy efficiency and conservation. By giving consumers alternatives, the Governor’s plan will help free consumers from the high cost of gasoline, stabilize energy prices, give Illinois farmers new markets for their crops and create tens of thousands of new jobs, the release states. When achieved, the goal of replacing 50% of the state’s energy supply with homegrown fuels by 2017 would make Illinois the first state to reach this level of energy independence. New incentives will help triple Illinois’ production of ethanol and other biofuels, as well other projects. Specifics of the Governor’s plan that are related to renewable energy include: — Invest in renewable biofuels by providing financial incentives to build up to 20 new ethanol plants and five new biodiesel plants. These increases in ethanol and biofuels production would allow Illinois to replace 50% of its current supply of imported oil with renewable homegrown biofuels. — Increase the number of gas stations that sell biofuels, so that all gas stations offer 85% ethanol fuel (E-85) by 2017 and help the auto industry to produce more and better flexible fuels vehicles that can run on either E-85 or regular gasoline. — Meet 10% of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2015, greatly boost investment in energy efficiency, while finding ways to cut emissions and reduce motor fuel consumption by 10% in 2017.
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