CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois has more cities providing 100 percent renewable energy than any other state, which has reduced pollution by the equivalent of removing a million cars from the road over the past few years, according to a report released Friday by national and state environmental groups.
A 2009 state law allowed communities to buy their own electricity, rather than relying on a central purchasing agency. Since then, more than 600 Illinois cities and towns have adopted aggregation, which allows them to bundle residential and small business customers to buy cheaper electricity in bulk from smaller suppliers.
Of those, 91 provide all renewable energy, either by buying it directly or buying credits that help fund renewable energy development, the report says.
Five other states — California, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island — also allow communities to buy electricity, but none comes close to matching the renewable energy Illinois is purchasing, said Keya Chatterjee, senior director for renewable energy and footprint outreach at the World Wildlife Fund.
"It is huge what is already being done," in Illinois, Chatterjee said. "This is a story about local choice, and (Illinois) is choosing renewables in town after town after town."
The central Illinois city of Normal began aggregation about 1½ years ago, allowing officials to buy electricity at lower rates than they would have gotten otherwise, said Mayor Chris Koos.
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