The city of Chicago has reached a deal worth up to $422 million to partially power some of its largest buildings with solar energy beginning in 2025, a move aimed at combating climate change, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday. .
As part of a contract with retail electricity provider Constellation, the city will purchase solar energy that will partially power Chicago’s airports, the Harold Washington Library Center and the Jardine Water Purification Plant starting in 2025, the city said.
The power will come from a new solar generation facility Swift Current Energy is currently developing in Sangamon and Morgan counties, the city said. Construction on the project is expected to begin later this year, according to the city.
“We must work as hard as we can to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change that we see manifest almost every day across the country and around the world,” Lightfoot said at a news conference Monday.
The announcement comes months after Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation that aims to put Illinois on a path to 100% carbon-free energy by 2050, with coal, oil and natural gas power plants scheduled to close. in the coming decades. It also seeks to boost the development of wind and solar energy across the state, put more electric vehicles on the road, and make it easier for Black and Latino workers and businesses to enter the renewable energy industry.
In general, coal plants would have to close by 2030, while natural gas plants would have to close until 2045. But in the meantime, the measure also called for a nearly $700 million bailout of three nuclear power plants owned by the company. Commonwealth matrix. Edison, plagued by a bribery jobs scandal that has generated millions of dollars in fines for the electricity giant and a series of criminal indictments, including against former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Pritzker and Lightfoot celebrated Chicago’s partnership with Constellation in a rare display of synergy between two elected officials who find themselves in the midst of re-election bids. Pritzker said the solar power project would create about 1,000 new jobs.
“In the coming months, we will break ground on the largest utility-scale solar generation facility in Illinois history,” Pritzker said. “And by 2025, hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans will have their energy needs met by a fully renewable energy source. It’s momentous.”
The federal budget package approved by the US Senate on Sunday also includes hundreds of billions of dollars in initiatives to address climate change. The legislative must still be approved by the House of Representatives.