Sunday, February 3, 2013

Illinois Power Agency & Renewable Portfolio Standards

With the introduction of the Rock Island Clean Line (RICL) into Illinois considerable time has been spent reading about Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard and how the Standard has been administered since 2007 when the Illinois Power Agency was created and took over its administration for ComEd and Ameren.  Before RICL I never heard of the Illinois Power Agency and I don’t many of Illinois residents have heard of it either.   The IPA has a nice title and sounds impressive but I honestly didn’t know there was anything beyond the Illinois Commerce Commission that handles energy matters in Springfield. (Actually, I think the Illinois Power Agency, like much of the state’s bureaucracy, is in Chicago at the James Thompson Center and not in Springfield.)

After spending a couple of weeks reading about the Renewable Portfolio Standard, the Illinois Power Agency, Power Purchasing Agreements for the wind energy, I don’t know where to begin to explain this to people.  The level of political influence, the appearance of Pay-to-Play, the incompetence, and the general mess Illinois is in with “clean” renewable energy is unbelievable.  It is difficult to know where to start with giving the history of this mess, how it was created, why Illinois is in the position we find ourselves , or even how this mess is creating the current high energy prices causing customers to leave ComEd and Ameren in droves.  It’s still unexplainable why ComEd is being blamed for high energy prices when the root cause is the Illinois Power Agency paying too high a premium and buying too much renewable energy.

There is so much that needs to be explained and brought out into the public and it’s not particularly difficult 
 to find the information.  It’s is out there in reports and articles across the state.  It just hasn’t been connected together without bias, political spin, agenda advocates (lobbyists).   Rich Miller at Capitol Fax, an independent syndicated column across the state’s newspapers,  has done a excellent job documenting the political maneuvering that has gone on with The Illinois Power Agency’s director, acting director, and Governor Quinn.  Rich Miller does a great job staying independent and reporting rather than repeating what lobbyist would like to spoon feed.  

The Chicago Tribune as done a few articles, and Crain’s Chicago Business has done several.  The New York Times has even done an article about the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard and the Illinois Power Agency.  The more I’ve read, the more obvious it has become many “news” writers are somewhat lazy and just take what has been spoon fed to them by industry lobbyist, like The Environmental Law and Policy Center as an example.  

There is one instance where a Henry Lerner of the Environmental Policy and Law Center is quoted saying Illinois needs long term Power purchasing Agreements or the Illinois wind industry might die.  Two  years later he’s being quoted as saying the wind industry is being hurt by the very same agreements.  Read enough of this brand of news and a person starts learning which reporters actually seek out the news and which reporters are lazy and take what is spoon fed them by lobbyists like The Environmental Policy and Law Center.

It’s just unbelievable no one has connected these stories and shown the larger picture here.  Governor Quinn’s “leadership” has made a mess of this industry.  Leadership and reform is desperately needed, or maybe the state just needs to scrap the lobbyist drive Renewable Portfolio Standard all together.  
One bright spot after reading about how Illinois administers this renewable energy program is House Speaker Michael Madigan.  From all accounts I’ve read, especially the least bias news reports (like Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax) Michael Madigan has opposed Governor Quinn and been an advocate for lower energy prices.  It appears Michael Madigan knows we just can’t close coal plants arbitrarily across the state without there being consequences.  Speaker Madigan has also shown a resistance to paying exorbitant changes to secure wind energy under long term agreements.  

I’m not a democrat, or a big fan of the influence Chicago democrat party has on state government but from everything I’ve read, Michael Madigan realizes Illinois residents need economically priced energy, whether it comes from coal, nuclear, or wind.  I haven’t seen favoritism from Michael Madigan to indicate his opinions about energy comes from lobbyists.  I do believe he genuinely seeks the least cost energy without political influences and resisted the temptation to create legislation to favor one form of energy over another.  Unfortunately the Governor trumps the House Speaker and we have the mess we now find ourselves in with Renewable Energy Portfolios.  

Perhaps the best way to beginning explaining the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard and how it is intertwined into the Illinois Power Agency miss management is to just state an opinion and from there show the history, references and to build a case for a need to reform the Renewable Portfolio Standard and Illinois Power Agency.  

The way Illinois has administered its Renewable Portfolio Stand and the Illinois Power Agency is a mess.   I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t believe it to be true and have the references to back it up.  There is a clear need for reform and remove the “clean” energy influence before Illinois allows the Rock Island Clean Line or the Grain Belt Express to build powerlines to bring more renewable energy into and through our state.  I believe a continuation of this miss management through political influence is key for Clean Line Energy to railroad their Rock Island Clean Line and Grain Belt Express powerlines through our state.  

These problem can only be solved with Governor Quinn cooperating with the state legislatures and work towards economically priced energy for the Illinois consumers.   The mistakes made with the Renewable Portfolio Standard and Illinois Power Agency can only be corrected after our legislatures completely understand the problems, quit listening to the “clean” energy lobbyists and start listening to the residents and consumers of Illinois.


  1. No Social Media Rules were violated in this blog posting.

  2. Of course it does. You told the truth, didn't you?