The Future of Renewable Energy
Being rich in energy does not necessarily make a state ready to face the future in sustainability and renewable energy use.
Illinois is a primary transportation portal with more than a dozen interstate natural gas and petroleum pipelines, an oil port and two natural gas market centers. In addition, it ranked fourth in oil refining capacity and third in coal reserves. Illinois is also a top-ranked producer of ethanol and is first for generating nuclear power.
However, the use of non-renewable energy comes at a cost. The World Resources Institute ranks Illinois as the third largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Emissions generated by electric power rose 53% between 1990 and 2003 – more than double of other states.
To combat this issue, the State of Illinois has set goals to reduce energy use 20% by 2020 and increase its use of renewable energy sources 25% by 2025. Reaching these goals will help the state reduce emissions and dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, and help make communities more resilient. IGEN is helping to play a key role by supporting campuses and their communities in their renewable energy efforts.
What Illinois Community Colleges Are Doing:
The Illinois community college system provides renewable energy education for multiple stakeholders to update the workforce and advance deployment of innovative technologies. To move Illinois toward a more energy-literate society, colleges are:
- Installing renewable energy technologies on their campuses to drive down energy use from fossil fuels and create a market for renewable energy technologies in our state.
- Building smart grid classrooms to provide job training for various academic areas (electrical, IT, renewable energy, building/construction, etc.).
- Shifting from business-as-usual operations to making energy reduction a priority.
- Conducting greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories on campus to establish and quantify their carbon footprint.
Jobs for wind turbine and solar photovoltaic installation technicians will grow much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Biofuels Processing Technician
- Biomass Power Plant Manager
- Civil Engineer
- Electrical Engineering Technician
- Electric Power Line Installer and Repairer
- Energy Auditor
- Energy Efficiency Builder
- Environmental Engineering Technician
- Geothermal Production Manager
- Geothermal Technician
- Mechanical Engineer
- Power Plant Operators
- Renewable Energy Manager
- Solar Cell Technicians
- Solar Lab Technician
- Solar Hot Water Installer
- Solar Operations Engineer
- Solar Power Fabricator/Installer
- Sustainability Systems Developer
- Wind Energy Engineer
- Wind Energy Operations Manager
- Wind Turbine Fabricator, Installer, Operator, Service Technician
- Wind Farm Developer