Chicago’s Department of Assets, Information, and Services (AIS) has announced an agreement with Constellation Energy, in collaboration with Swift Current Energy, to help purchase renewable energy for all city facilities and operations by 2025, making Chicago one of the largest cities in the country to do so.
The city has signed an energy supply agreement with an initial five-year term with Constellation beginning in January 2023. As part of the agreement with Constellation, beginning in 2025, the City will partially source its large energy users such as the airports, Harold Washington Library Center, and Jardine Water Purification Plant with renewable energy from a new solar generation installation currently being developed by Swift Current Energy in downstate Sangamon and Morgan counties. The city will also procure renewable energy credits (RECs) from other sources for its remaining power users, such as small and medium-sized buildings and streetlights. Swift Current Energy will own and operate Double Black Diamond Solar, which at 593 megawatts, is expected to be one of the largest solar projects in Illinois to date.
This agreement will help in reducing Chicago’s carbon footprint and accelerating the transition to renewable energy outlined in the 2022 Chicago Climate Action Plan (CAP). The 2022 CAP details an interim 62% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 through direct investment and action by the City of Chicago. By procuring solar energy for city operations, Chicago is expected to reduce its carbon footprint by more than 290,000 metric tons each year. The city’s participation in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge helped the city, through technical advisors, in designing this process.
The City of Chicago will apply for the Illinois Power Agency’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) “Self-Direct” credit program made available through CEJA. The Self-Direct program provides eligible large energy consumers like the city with an electricity bill credit for REC purchases from qualified wind and solar resources. The program will help Illinois meet its statewide RPS targets. The city has already begun transitioning its fleet to all-electric vehicles with a commitment to a full transition by 2035. Additionally, the city has allocated dollars in the Chicago Recovery Plan to accelerate energy retrofits and renewable energy generation, beginning with libraries in underserved communities on the South and West sides.
As a next step, AIS and the Chief Sustainability Officer will encourage additional local, distributed renewable generation, city asset energy efficiency projects, and energy storage in the city itself.
PNC Bank has also signed a 78 MW deal with Constellation to power nearly 50% of its legacy operations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, District of Columbia, and parts of Illinois with renewable electricity.
PNC Bank will receive approximately 148 million kilowatt hours of energy per year through its retail agreement with Constellation, with that energy matched by Green-e Energy Certified RECs sourced from other renewable facilities located throughout the US.
Constellation recently announced that commercial and industrial operations that use its energy services now have access to data to help them measure and reduce their carbon emissions impact.
The reports will feature business-specific information on Scope 1 and 2 emissions for facilities that get power or gas supply from Constellation. The reports also show ways companies can transition to clean energy and become more sustainable.
Constellation says the reports are part of a commitment to provide customizable information it made to all of the organizations it provides services. The company says it is a significant tool to help businesses better understand their energy use and the emissions that it produces.