More than 400 Illinois companies serve wind power and solar energy markets, providing more than 20,000 jobs to people across the state who are manufacturing, financing, designing, engineering, installing, and maintaining renewable energy projects here and across the region. These were the findings of a recent study released by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), joined by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce has underscored the importance of investments in renewable energy in driving business growth across metropolitan Chicago.
“When a wind turbine goes up in rural Illinois, it doesn’t sprout from the ground,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Every piece of a turbine, from the wiring and blades to the footing and ball bearings, are manufactured by skilled laborers in places like Cicero and Rockford. Where the turbine is sited is determined by engineers and project managers in places like Springfield and Palatine. And how the project is financed involves investment professionals, many right here in Chicago.”
The report identified more than 230 companies involved in the solar power supply chain, and 170 companies involved in the wind energy supply chain. The companies were identified through an analysis of data from several industry groups and then contacted individually to confirm their supply chain role.
For businesses involved in the installation and construction of wind and solar projects, increased renewable energy development results in new business and increased economic activity in the communities where they operate.
“When you look at this report, it’s clear that policies like the production tax credit for wind, the investment tax credit for solar, and our own renewable energy standards here in Illinois are pocketbook issues for the more than 20,000 Illinoisans whose work supports the wind and solar industries and the 400-plus companies deciding whether they are going to staff-up or slim down,” said Learner.
Elise Houren, Manager of Government Relations at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said having a robust renewable energy sector makes Chicago an attractive destination for sustainability-minded companies.
“Energy is an important part of the infrastructure that businesses look to when deciding where to open up shop,” Houren said. “We know many businesses have embraced sustainability and placed a priority on renewable energy. We have the companies and workforce to bring more solar powered businesses to the Chicagoland area and to develop more wind energy across the state using parts manufactured here in Chicagoland.”
Download the report here.
Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC)
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