City of Chicago contracting to meet 100% of Facility Energy Needs with Renewables

Aug. 10, 2022
The agreement with retail electricity supplier Constellation, in collaboration with Swift Current Energy, would utilize renewable and low-carbon generation resources. Once done, it would reduce carbon emissions by 290,000 metric tons annually

The city of Chicago promised this week to buy all of its energy from renewable and carbon-free resources for all facilities and operations by 2025.

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced an agreement with retailer electricity supplier Constellation, in collaboration with Swift Current Energy, to deliver electricity from renewable and low or no-carbon generation resources. Once done, it would make Chicago one of the largest cities to decarbonize and reduce its carbon footprint by 290,000 metric tons per year.

“I am incredibly proud to advance this commitment to transitioning all city operations to 100% renewable energy by 2025,” said Mayor Lightfoot in the announcement. “The signing of this agreement demonstrates that the City of Chicago is leading by example and driving high-impact climate action, building the clean energy workforce of the future and equitably distributing meaningful benefits to foster the local clean energy economy for all.”   

The five-year energy supply agreement with Constellation begins in January 2023. Two years later, Chicago municipal facilities such as the airports, library and water treatment plant will be completely sourced with new solar generation currently under development by Swift Current Energy in Sangamon and Morgan counties.

Construction on the Swift solar project downstate begins by the end of this year. Swift also will own and operate the 593-MW Double Black Diamond Solar project, which will contribute to the city's energy load.

“We commend the city of Chicago for their leadership in securing 100% clean, renewable energy for all city buildings and operations and Sangamon and Morgan Counties for hosting this project,” Matt Birchby, Co-Founder and President, Swift Current Energy, said in a statement. “As the long-term owner and operator of Double Black Diamond Solar, Swift Current Energy will continue to strengthen our relationships with the project customers, Constellation and the host communities to ensure the benefits of the project are robust and long-lasting.”  

The city of Chicago owns and/or operates more than 425 facilities overall.

The city plans to apply for the Illinois Power Agency’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) “Self-Direct” credit program. The Self-Direct program provides eligible large energy consumers like the City with an electricity bill credit for REC purchases from qualified wind and solar resources.

Chicago's Bronzeville neighbhorhood also is home to a clean-energy microgrid cluster project led by distribution utility ComEd.