Jessica Collingsworth

Policy analyst, Clean Energy

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Jessica Collingsworth is an energy policy analyst with expertise in state-level policies that curb global warming emissions through greater use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. See Jessica's full bio.

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Old coal-burning power plants have the greatest emissions per energy delivered. Photo: snowpeak/Wikimedia Commons

Why Would Illinois Want More Pollution from Coal Power?

Changes to an important state air pollution standard are being considered by the Illinois Pollution Control Board this summer. My colleagues and I found striking differences among the Dynegy plants that would be affected by the proposed rule change to be decided on as soon as Thursday August 23. Under the current Illinois Multi-Pollutant Standard (MPS), the Dynegy coal plants that cause the most harm to Illinois residents are the ones more likely to be closed or be upgraded with air pollution control technology. But if the Pollution Control Board adopts Dynegy’s proposal to change how state air pollution limits are calculated, it could result in the company closing its cleaner plants and keeping its dirtiest plants open because it would no longer need the cleanest plants in its fleet to comply with the state requirements. My colleague James Gignac, lead analyst in the Midwest Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), further reflects on the impacts of the proposed change to the MPS, below. Read more >

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Photo: UniEnergy Technologies/Wikimedia

What’s New with NextGrid?

Last year, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) launched NextGrid,  a collaboration between key stakeholders to create a shared base of information on electric utility industry issues and opportunities around grid modernization. NextGrid is the Illinois Utility of the Future Study, which is being managed by the University of Illinois and consists of seven working groups comprised of subject matter experts, utilities, business interests, and environmental organizations. The Union of Concerned Scientists is a member of two of these working groups.

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Photo: UniEnergy Technologies/Wikimedia
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Now That Xcel Won’t Get Its Nuclear Bill, What’s Next?

The fate of Xcel’s nuclear plants is largely unknown. Read more >

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Photo: justice.gov

Coal-burning Dynegy Wants a Handout. Will Illinois Give It to Them?

Last week marked the end of the Illinois General Assembly’s 2017 veto session. Fortunately, Dynegy failed in its latest attempt to have the legislature bail out several of its coal plants in central and southern Illinois at the expense of local ratepayers. Read more >

Photo: justice.gov
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Installing solar panels in PA
Photo: used with permission from publicsource.org

Illinois is Expanding Solar Access to Low-Income Communities—But It Didn’t Happen Without a Fight

When the Future Energy Jobs Bill (FEJA) passed the Illinois General Assembly and was later approved by Governor Rauner in early December last year, a key component of the legislation was to expand solar access for low-income communities. To get a feeling for how the legislation came about, I caught up with Naomi Davis, president and founder of the Chicago-based non-profit Blacks in Green (BIG). She has been on the front lines of developing this innovative program and is excited to finally see it coming together. Read more >

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