Illinois smart grid collaboration gets support from Gov. Quinn

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn joined a growing choir of support yesterday for a public-private collaborative to increase green jobs and establish the state as a leader in sustainable energy.

Led by the Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Illinois Smart Grid Collaboration seeks to develop smarter, stronger and more secure electric grids. Gov. Quinn joined over 60 organizations, including electric companies ComEd, Ameren, and the Galvin Electricity Initiative, as well as the City of Chicago and Village of Oak Park in supporting the proposal.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has set aside nearly $4 billion for smart grid advancement, with more than $615 million for regional demonstration projects. The Illinois Smart Grid Collaboration is competing for its cut of $60 million available in regional ARRA demonstration project funds.

“This Collaboration will help create an electrical grid that is secure and reliable,” Governor Quinn said in a statement. “This investment will create jobs and ensure Illinois families and businesses have access to technology that will lower their energy use, and their energy costs.”

If federal funding is received, the State of Illinois will invest up to $30 million in matching funds for two smart grid development and testing centers. According to Gov. Quinn’s office, the centers will work in partnership with energy providers and individual communities to ensure consumers and industrial users benefit from the collaboration’s technological advancements. Total costs for the proposed project is estimated to be $120 million.

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