Pritzker Administration Announces Recipients of Coal-to-Solar Program as Part of Landmark Climate Initiative

Five Illinois coal plants that are currently closed or in the process of ceasing coal operations will begin operating energy storage facilities in 2025

CHICAGO - Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced the participants of the Coal-to-Solar Energy Storage Grant Program, a key component of the historic Climate & Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which puts Illinois on a path toward 100 percent clean energy by 2050. As part of the Coal-to-Solar program, five coal plant sites – which are already closed or in the process of closing - have been selected to participate. The program provides incentives for companies to install energy storage facilities at the sites of former coal plants, providing benefits to the electric grid and the ability for more renewables resources to be built and used. 

 "When it comes to Illinois' clean energy future, this initiative will help deliver on the progress our residents deserve," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Illinois is taking strides that no other state in the Midwest – and few in the country – are taking when it comes to combatting climate change. The Coal-to-Solar Energy Storage Grant Program is a critical component of ensuring Illinois families see stable and reliable energy service every step of the way." 

The Coal-to-Solar Energy Storage Grant Program is a critical part of CEJA and the State's goal of fully transitioning to clean energy sources. CEJA aims to transition energy sources while preserving the strength and reliability of the state's electrical grid. Energy storage, which allows previously produced electricity to be released as needed, is essential as more renewable energy sources are added to the grid.  At peak capacity, these facilities can provide a combined 255 megawatts of power – enough to power 258,000 Illinois homes based on average annual energy use – for a limited duration.   

"The State of Illinois is executing a bold climate agenda under the leadership of Governor Pritzker, which intentionally invests in communities and puts us on course to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy sources by 2050," said DCEO Director Sylvia I. Garcia. "Energy storage is absolutely crucial to ensuring a smooth transition as more clean energy sources come online and we look forward to implementing the Coal-to-Solar Energy Storage program which shores up our electrical grid, helps the environment and strengthens the economy."  

Guided by criteria outlined in CEJA legislation, the five coal plant sites will receive a total of $280.5 million over a ten-year period (capped at $28.05 million per year), with the first payments issued in 2025 when the facilities are expected to be commercially operational. The amount of funding received by each project corresponds to the megawatts (MW) of stored energy capacity at the facilities.  

"The Coal-to-Solar program is a key part of Illinois' clean energy future: reliable energy, stable careers, and independence from fossil fuels," said Assistant Majority Leader Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea). "I look forward to seeing more initiatives that will help our communities transition to the clean energy economy." 

"As we transition away from fossil fuels and towards low-carbon power, energy storage capacity will be critical to bringing more renewables on the grid," said Rep. Dagmara "Dee" Avelar (D-Bolingbrook). "Workers in Will County will be at the center of that transition for years to come." 

The plants were selected through a competitive review process, as outlined in the statute, which permitted up to five plant sites to be selected. In order to qualify, the plants must have burned coal, have a generating capacity of at least 150 MW of electricity, and make a commitment to hiring a diverse workforce and apprentices. The program provides $110,000 per megawatt of stored solar energy (with a yearly cap of $28.05 million for all recipients) and each project must have a storage capacity of a minimum of 37 MW.  

Grantee Energy Storage Site CountyAmount Awarded Over 10 Years Project Size MW
NRG Midwest Storage, LLC (NRG) – Waukegan Energy Storage CenterLake$79,200,00072MW
NRG Midwest Storage, LLC (NRG) - Will County Energy Storage CenterWill$79,200,00072MW
Dynegy Midwest Generation, LLC (Vistra) - Havana Battery Energy Storage SystemMason$40,700,00037MW
Electric Energy, Inc. (Vistra) - Joppa Battery Energy Storage SystemMassac$40,700,00037MW
Illinois Power Resources Generating, LLC (Vistra) – Edwards Battery Energy Storage SystemPeoria$40,700,00037MW


DCEO is overseeing the energy storage component of the Coal-to-Solar program, while the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) will oversee a program to incentivize the production of solar energy and co-located energy storage.  

The Coal-to-Solar Energy Storage Grant Program is the first DCEO CEJA program that has been rolled out to date. In addition to the Coal-to-Solar Energy Storage Grant Program, DCEO is also in the process of implementing several statewide workforce training programs, grants for communities impacted by the energy transition, programs to support historically underrepresented contractors in the green energy space, and a navigator program to ensure the State is reaching populations most in need of support.  

Since these programs are designed to support a new, long-term statewide ecosystem that equitably prepares our workforce for the jobs of the future and supports communities transitioning from fossil fuels, DCEO will solicit public feedback for the creation of programs to ensure stakeholders are represented, with the goal of launching most of the training programming by the end of 2022.