Electricity expected to be generated by a solar farm in the downstate will power more than 425 major buildings and facilities owned by the City of Chicago by 2025 under a deal worth $422, $2 million announced Monday by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Governor JB Pritzker.
Lightfoot and Pritzker, who are both running for re-election, put aside their strained relationship and joined forces to announce the deal with Constellation and Swift Current Energy which they say would begin to reverse climate change, which , according to scientists, has already begun to cause disasters. such as floods and heavy storms.
Pritzker called the deal an “overwhelmingly positive development” that proves a 2021 bill he signed that sets a 2045 target for Illinois to get all of its energy from renewable sources will be effective — while by reserving 10% of jobs for workers in areas of Chicago and Illinois that are suffering from disinvestment.
Starting in 2025, the city will use 300 megawatts it plans to purchase from Constellation to power O’Hare and Midway airports, the Harold Washington Library Center, and the Jardine Water Purification Plant near Navy Pier with solar power to be generated by Swift Current Energy in Sangamon and Morgan counties, officials said.
Construction of the generator, known as Double Black Diamond Solar, is expected to begin before the end of the year and generate 593 megawatts per year, officials said.
Lightfoot said the agreement was structured to ensure that jobs created by the effort to end Illinois’ dependence on electricity generated by fossil fuels such as oil and gas are offered to black and Latino residents in areas of the city and state with high unemployment. .
The city plans to purchase renewable energy credits from other sources to power the city’s small and medium buildings and streetlights. In total, the city has more than 900 facilities, Lightfoot said, adding that plans call for branch libraries to be powered by rooftop solar panels.
Lightfoot’s announcement comes after former mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged in April 2017 that all city facilities would be powered by renewable energy by 2025.
Chicago public schools, city colleges, Chicago Park District country homes, and buildings owned by the city and the Chicago Housing Authority used about 1.8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, or roughly nearly the same amount of energy used by about 295,000 Chicago homes, according to a 2017 estimate by city officials.
The deal does not require Chicago City Council approval, said Cesar Rodriguez, the mayor’s press secretary.
Chicago’s 2022 Climate Action Plan calls on the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 62% by 2040. Once the city’s facilities are powered by solar energy, the carbon footprint of the city would decrease by more than 290,000 metric tons each year, equivalent to the emissions associated with 62,000 vehicle passengers, according to estimates by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The city has set a goal for all electricity consumed in Chicago to come from clean, renewable sources by 2035.
Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]