Farm Bureau Continues Efforts on Clean Energy
Farm Bureau staff and leadership continues efforts in the arena of clean energy. Efforts center around minimizing any negative impacts to agriculture, to promote the use of renewable fuels as a solution for reduction emissions from the transportation sector while ensuring that private property rights of landowners are protected, and that Agricultural Impact Mitigation Agreements are utilized.
Items of interest include:
Clean Energy Jobs Act
House Bill 804 sponsored by Representative Ann Williams and Senate Bill 1718 sponsored by Senator Castro are large omnibus bills dealing with numerous renewable energy issues. Among the items included in the bill are:
- A goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050
- Establishment of various programs supporting renewable energy development
- Creation of programs to support equity in renewable energy development
- Fixed resource requirement where the Illinois Power Agency would determine generation resources for the northeast portion of Illinois, an increase in the cost caps for additional renewable energy credits
- Transmission line planning process convened by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC)
- Creation of authority for local governments to plan for climate change and energy development
- Programs to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road
- Changes to net metering for individual renewable energy generation
- Changes to ICC hearings on projects
At this time, Farm Bureau opposes both House Bill 804 and Senate Bill 1718.
Standards for County Wind Energy Ordinances
Senate Bill 1602 sponsored by Senator Cunningham places restrictions on what can be included in county zoning ordinances that regulate wind energy. The bill specifies:
- Maximum setback distances
- Maximum blade tip height limitations
- Limitations on sound regulations
Senate Bill 1602 also states that a county may not place any restriction on the installation or use of a commercial wind energy facility, except by adopting an ordinance that complies with the provisions and may not establish siting standards for supporting facilities that preclude development of commercial wind energy facilities.
Senate Bill 1602 would eliminate the possibility of county ordinances that require protections for farmland owners like adhering to Agriculture Impact Mitigation Agreements, drainage protections, and other items.
Farm Bureau opposes Senate Bill 1602 as drafted. If amended to better align with Farm Bureau policy on wind and solar energy, this position may change.