Illinois business leaders gathered today at S&C Electric Co. to voice their continued support for the Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (Senate Bill 1652) and called on the General Assembly to override the Governor's veto of the legislation this fall.
Representatives from local chambers of commerce, manufacturing, high-tech, construction and environmental organizations held a news conference today from S&C Electric Co.'s Smart Grid Solutions Demonstration Center to tout the significant job creation and economic development that would be realized if the bill is passed.
"Businesses and consumers alike depend on reliable electric delivery, and a modern smart grid is necessary to avoid outages that cost local businesses money and hurt their ability to compete," said John Estey, president and CEO of S&C Electric Co. "When businesses evaluate where to expand or open new facilities, a major point of consideration is whether the local infrastructure will support their needs. A modern grid will position Illinois to attract new business and new jobs."
Senate Bill 1652, which will usher a $2.6 billion investment to strengthen and modernize Illinois' aging electric infrastructure, passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly in May. On September 12, Governor Quinn vetoed the legislation, requiring further action in the upcoming legislative session.
"Senate Bill 1652 represents a solution at a time when we are looking for new ways to jumpstart the Illinois economy," said Jerry Roper, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. "When enacted, this bill will create 2,500 real jobs in the manufacturing and service industries. It will also set the stage for a new clean energy sector that will bring investment, business, and talent to Illinois. The legislature has a tremendous opportunity to move Illinois forward by making Senate Bill 1652 a reality."
The event also offered a first hand look at the modern electric grid as S&C Electric Co. provided a walk through of its new Smart Grid Solutions Demonstration Center, one of the only such centers in the United States that uses actual smart-grid devices on simulated utility distribution circuits.
Roper and Estey were joined by leaders from the Illinois Sierra Club, Kenny Construction, Intelligent Generation, Primera Engineers, United Scrap Metal, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latin American Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association. The diverse coalition called the legislation a catalyst for job creation and economic development and pledged their continued support.
"Senate Bill 1652 provides an unprecedented opportunity to spark the clean energy economy in Illinois at a time when Illinois needs the jobs and economic development most," said Jack Darin, Illinois Chapter Director of the Sierra Club.
To further support job-creating Illinois entrepreneurs, Senate Bill 1652 also creates a first-of-its-kind $20 million, utility funded, "Science and Energy Innovation Trust." The mission of the fund is to provide early stage investment to foster energy innovation and support high-growth energy-related Illinois companies.