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220 ILCS 5/8-512

    (220 ILCS 5/8-512)
    Sec. 8-512. Renewable energy access plan.
    (a) It is the policy of this State to promote cost-effective transmission system development that ensures reliability of the electric transmission system, lowers carbon emissions, minimizes long-term costs for consumers, and supports the electric policy goals of this State. The General Assembly finds that:
        (1) Transmission planning, primarily for
reliability purposes, but also for economic and public policy reasons is conducted by regional transmission organizations in which transmission-owning Illinois utilities and other stakeholders are members.
        (2) Order No. 1000 of the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission requires regional transmission organizations to plan for transmission system needs in light of State public policies and to accept input from states during the transmission system planning processes.
        (3) The State of Illinois does not currently have a
comprehensive power and environmental policy planning process to identify transmission infrastructure needs that can serve as a vital input into the regional and interregional transmission organization planning processes conducted under Order No. 1000 and other laws and regulations.
        (4) This State is an electricity generation and
power transmission hub, and can leverage that position to invest in infrastructure that enables new and existing Illinois generators to meet the public policy goals of the State of Illinois and of interconnected states while cost-effectively supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the renewable energy sector in this State.
        (5) The nation has a need to readily access this
State's low-cost, clean electric power, and this State also desires access to clean energy resources in other states to develop and support its low-carbon economy and keep electricity prices low in Illinois and interconnected States.
        (6) Existing transmission infrastructure may
constrain the State's achievement of 100% renewable energy by 2050, the accelerated adoption of electric vehicles in a just and equitable way, and electrification of additional sectors of the Illinois economy.
        (7) Transmission system congestion within this
State and the regional transmission organizations serving this State limits the ability of this State's existing and new electric generation facilities that do not emit carbon dioxide, including renewable energy resources and zero emission facilities, to serve the public policy goals of this State and other states, which constrains investment in this State.
        (8) Investment in infrastructure to support
existing and new electric generation facilities that do not emit carbon dioxide, including renewable energy resources and zero emission facilities, stimulates significant economic development and job growth in this State, as well as creates environmental and public health benefits in this State.
        (9) Creating a forward-looking plan for this
State's electric transmission infrastructure, as opposed to relying on case-by-case development and repeated marginal upgrades, will achieve a lower-cost system for Illinois' electricity customers. A forward-looking plan can also help integrate and achieve a comprehensive set of objectives and multiple state, regional, and national policy goals.
        (10) Alternatives to overhead electric transmission
lines can achieve cost-effective resolution of system impacts and warrant investigation of the circumstances under which those alternatives should be considered and approved. The alternatives are likely to be beneficial as investment in electric transmission infrastructure moves forward.
        (11) Because transmission planning is conducted
primarily by the regional transmission organizations, the Commission should be advocating for the State's interests at the regional transmission organizations to ensure that such planning facilitates the State's policies and goals, including overall consumer savings, power system reliability, economic development, environmental improvement, and carbon reduction.
    (b) Consistent with the findings identified in subsection (a), the Commission shall open an investigation to develop and adopt a renewable energy access plan no later than December 31, 2022. To assist and support the Commission in the development of the plan, the Commission shall retain the services of technical and policy experts with relevant fields of expertise, solicit technical and policy analysis from the public, and provide for a 120-day open public comment period after publication of a draft report, which shall be published no later than 90 days after the comment period ends. The plan shall, at a minimum, do the following:
        (1) designate renewable energy access plan zones
throughout this State in areas in which renewable energy resources and suitable land areas are sufficient for developing generating capacity from renewable energy technologies;
        (2) develop a plan to achieve transmission capacity
necessary to deliver the electric output from renewable energy technologies in the renewable energy access plan zones to customers in Illinois and other states in a manner that is most beneficial and cost-effective to customers;
        (3) use this State's position as an electricity
generation and power transmission hub to create new investment in this State's renewable energy resources;
        (4) consider programs, policies, and electric
transmission projects that can be adopted within this State that promote the cost-effective delivery of power from renewable energy resources interconnected to the bulk electric system to meet the renewable portfolio standard targets under subsection (c) of Section 1-75 of the Illinois Power Agency Act;
        (5) consider proposals to improve regional
transmission organizations' regional and interregional system planning processes, especially proposals that reduce costs and emissions, create jobs, and increase State and regional power system reliability to prevent high-cost outages that can endanger lives, and analyze of how those proposals would improve reliability and cost-effective delivery of electricity in Illinois and the region;
        (6) make findings and policy recommendations based
on technical and policy analysis regarding locations of renewable energy access plan zones and the transmission system developments needed to cost-effectively achieve the public policy goals identified herein;
        (6.5) make findings and policy recommendations based
on analysis regarding the impact of converting non-powered dams to hydropower dams relative to the alternative renewable energy resources; and
        (7) present the Commission's conclusions and
proposed recommendations based on its analysis and use the findings and policy recommendations to determine actions that the Commission should take.
    (c) No later than December 31, 2025, and every other year thereafter, the Commission shall open an investigation to develop and adopt an updated renewable energy access plan that, at a minimum, evaluates the implementation and effectiveness of the renewable energy access plan, recommends improvements to the renewable energy access plan, and provides changes to transmission capacity necessary to deliver electric output from the renewable energy access plan zones.
(Source: P.A. 102-662, eff. 9-15-21; 103-380, eff. 1-1-24.)