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A burning issue: Increasing natural gas power plants can harm the environment
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A burning issue: Increasing natural gas power plants can harm the environment

Why is Illinois still building natural gasoline-powered power stations?

It is imperative to convert to renewable energy sources. We see the effects of climate change every day. We are witnessing record-setting temperatures, stronger storms and severe droughts, massive wildfires, historic flooding, and many other effects of climate change. Many of these are due to fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases and heat the planet.

The Lincoln Land Energy Center is a gas-fired plant located near downstate Pawnee, Sangamon County. It is about 13 miles from Springfield. Plans are moving forward. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is currently reviewing a draft permit. This is a bitter pill for environmentalists who helped to negotiate the Illinois clean energy law. Two other gas plants, approved during Bruce Rauner’s administration, will soon be in operation downstate, near Elwood, and Morris.

Lincoln Land Energy Center, by itself, will emit more carbon dioxide per vehicle than 800,000. According to the Chicago Tribune, the three new gas-fired plants will emit more carbon dioxide than the four coal-fired plants that were shut down last year. This is a wrong direction for Illinois. It is not a good idea to create construction jobs or provide returns for investors.

Building new gas plants is clearly out of line with what the state and country should be doing. President Joe Biden signed last week clean energy provisions from U.S. Rep. Sean Casten. These provisions require that 10% of military installations be converted to net zero emissions by 2035.

Renewables must be our ultimate source of power

Gas plants are not only a source for fossil fuels, but also release methane into the atmosphere through the natural gas grid. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and does not last as long in the upper atmosphere. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), methane has a 25-fold greater impact than carbon dioxide over a 100 years.

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois new green electricity law in September. In September, J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois new green electricity law. This law encourages individuals and companies to purchase electric cars. To meet clean energy goals, buildings will need to convert to electric heating and replace gas-powered appliances. But these benefits can only be realized if the ultimate source of power is not from natural gas but renewable wind, water, or solar energy.

Partly, the Legislature’s long delay in passing new clean energy legislation has resulted in the construction of new gas plants. Nobody knew if the climate law would allow nuclear power plants that are now economically threatened to remain open, or if subsidies would be available for green energy facilities. The delay also missed an opportunity to lower consumers’ power bills.

The last gas-fired plants in Illinois are likely to be the most recent. They must be in operation for at least 20 year to make a profit. The clean energy law sets a goal to have 100% clean electricity in the power grid by 2045. New plants that burn fossil fuels make it harder to delay clean energy deadlines. It becomes more difficult to imagine people doing what they won’t do today if the Earth’s temperature rises below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It was a significant milestone to pass Illinois’ clean energy legislation. To avoid the worst consequences of climate change’s escalating effects, it will require the full participation of individuals and businesses as well as all levels government. Biden’s major climate policies in his Build back Better legislation remain unfinished in Congress. It is crucial that everyone else adheres to the spirit and letter of Illinois law.

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