Research from Illinois State University's Department of Economics is being used to support legislation increasing the statewide requirement for renewable energy sources, called the Renewable Portfolio Standard or RPS.
If passed, the law would allow developers to apply for federal tax credits to make wind energy expansion in Illinois less expensive. ISU professor David Loomis, who authored the study with graduate student Isaac Stroup, said the state's "broken policy" on the RPS needs to change to increase the number of wind farms in Illinois, which, in turn, would increase the economic impact.
"That would really help spur the development of wind energy,” he said. “Because, currently, wind is the cheapest form of renewables that's going to satisfy the RPS."
Kevin Borgia of public interest group Wind on the Wires said the state is falling behind when it comes to wind energy.
"Other states are moving faster than Illinois,” he said. “Federal deadlines on energy tax credits are ticking, and, so, there's really an urgency to move forward with some kind of comprehensive energy bill over the next year."
The study released by Loomis and Stroup earlier this week shows an overall statewide economic benefit of $6.4 billion dollars from the top 25 from wind farms currently producing energy in Illinois. Making the process more affordable for developers could potentially increase that benefit.