Illinois produces much more electricity than it consumes, allowing it to sell more than a fifth of its electricity supply to nearby states. This is due in large part to the state's six nuclear power plants, which account for about half of total electricity generation. Illinois produces more nuclear energy than any other state in the nation. Coal is the second most popular electricity source in Illinois, making up about 32% of total production. However, coal is on the decline, quickly being replaced by natural gas and wind power.
Illinois has an ambitious Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, which requires most in-state electricity suppliers to use a minimum percentage of renewable sources for retail electricity sales. Specifically, they are required to source 25% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2026. This policy has been a key driver of renewable energy investments in Illinois. For example, in 2012, a new solar farm opened in LaSelle County with enough capacity to power more than 2,900 homes.
Illinois Electricity Prices
Illinois has a deregulated electricity market, where customers can choose their electricity supplier and often access lower electricity prices. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for Illinois residents in December 2016 was 11.69¢ per kWh, well below the average U.S. residential electricity price of 12.21¢ per kWh.
Residential electricity prices are on the rise in Illinois. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential electricity prices in Illinois have risen more than 45% over the past 10 years.
Illinois Energy Mix
Net Electricity Generation By Source:
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016
Illinois produces almost 3 times more electricity from natural gas than it did 5 years ago. Over same period, electricity production from coal has fallen about 34%.
Illinois Energy Sector Employment
According to the Clean Jobs Illinois report, there were approximately 21,874 Ohioans employed by renewable energy in 2014. Illinois has a very diverse renewable energy portfolio, but most jobs are in the solar, wind, and biomass industries. Some of the largest Illinois renewable energy employers are Invenergy, ComEd, and BHE Renewables. Nuclear energy is also a large source of jobs for Illinois. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the state's six nuclear plants employ more than 5,900 Illinois residents.
Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.
Illinois Utility Companies
Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), Ameren Illinois, and MidAmerican Energy are the largest utility companies in Illinois. Previously in Illinois, one utility company controlled the entire flow of electricity, from production to distribution. However, the Illinois energy market has since been “deregulated,” meaning that some elements of the service, such as electricity prices, can be set by other companies. This gives Illinois businesses and homeowners the power to choose their electricity supplier.
Your local utility is still responsible for distributing electricity to every home in your area. In return, they send you a monthly bill, which you must pay to keep the electricity flowing. By default, they also produce or purchase your electricity. However, Illinois’s deregulated energy market allows you to switch electricity suppliers to take advantage of lower electricity prices.
Commonwealth Edison (ComEd)
- Subsidiary of Exelon Corporation
- Serves approximately 3.8 million customers in Northern Illinois
- Based in Chicago, IL
- Founded in 1907
- Part of Ameren Corporation
- Serves approximately 1.2 million electric customers in Central and Southern Illinois
- Headquartered in Collinsville, IL
- Approximately 3,429 employees
- Subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy
- Serves approximately 752,000 electric customers in Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, and Nebraska
- Headquartered in Des Moines, IA
- Approximately 3,300 employees
Arcadia's Illinois Renewable Energy Services
With Arcadia’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to Illinois residents:
As an Illinois utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.
We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in Illinois. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.
Zero-down Energy Efficient Products
Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables Illinois utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.