According to new legislation, Illinois will extend tax credits to wind farms. The legislation also gives new authority to local governments to finance green projects in unincorporated areas. The state hopes that the credits and financing will help grow its renewable energy sector.
The bill amends the state property tax code to provide credits for wind farms and provides for an extended sunset of the provision through 2016. Supporters of the legislation say that making the credits available through 2016 will give the wind industry sufficient time to understand and plan for operating costs uniformly across the state. Previously, property taxes for wind farms were assessed based on where they were located and assessments across the state were inconsistent.
Local governments will also be able to finance green projects under the state’s new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. PACE programs allow governments to finance green projects through adding an additional property tax where the project is taking place. Property holders then make incremental repayments as part of their property tax bill. The cost of the improvements are assessed to whomever holds the property at a given time rather than following a specific individual.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Illinois ranks 6th in the nation in the amount of wind energy capacity with a total statewide generation capacity of 1848 megawatts. An additional 437 megawatts of power is currently under construction. Under state law, utilities must supply 25% of power from renewable resources by 2025 with at least 75% of that coming from wind power.
“Having a robust green industry is critical to strengthening Illinois’ economy,” said Governor Quinn. “The legislation provides the state with additional tools to create jobs and further enhance Illinois’ growing renewable energy sector.”