Illinois’ Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) held its Fall 2012 Peer Exchange Tuesday and Wednesday at the Starved Rock Lodge in Utica, IL. The event consisted of updates and highlights of the myriad diverse energy programs running in the state of Illinois, combined with plenty of networking opportunities. David Baker, Energy Division Manager, DCEO-Illinois Energy Office, set the stage by providing an overview of accomplishments across the state in the fourth EEPS program year. The programs have yet to undergo evaluation, but it appeared that electricity would easily meet targets and natural gas programs were right on track.
Jay Wrobel, MEEA’s Executive Director, spoke on the state’s efforts to bring the successful Building Operator Certification program to unemployed veterans. The first BOC VET Pilot, which began on August 30th, has four unemployed or underemployed Veterans enrolled. Along with training the four Veterans, fifteen incumbent workers are enrolled in the pilot to improve their skills and share their on the job experiences with the Veterans. Additionally, Veterans will be paired with a facility and a mentor to complete the five projects required to earn the BOC certification.
MEEA’s Illinois workforce partner, the Land of Lincoln Workforce Alliance, is providing the Veterans with career counseling and employment placement services. Funding for the pilot is provided through a grant with the DCEO-Illinois Energy Office and Office of Employment and Training. Partners for the BOC VET Pilot include the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and Employment Security. The second BOC VET Pilot is scheduled to begin in the Chicago region in January of 2013
The Illinois Energy Office and representatives from ComEd, Ameren Illinois, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, and North Shore Gas provided updates on their respective energy efficiency portfolios, and where they were headed in the coming year. Ken Woolcutt, from Ameren Illinois, spoke about their efforts to help re-build homes affected by the February 2012 F4 tornado in Harrisburg, IL by combining public and private funds to make the rebuilt homes more energy efficient.
Matt Marcum, from the American Lung Association in Illinois, Kate Tomford, DCEO, and Mercy Davison, Town of Normal, spoke about the coming surge in electric vehicle sales throughout Illinois and the policies and regulations that exist and need to be developed to support this nascent industry. New level-3 charging stations that can fully charge EVs in short order have begun to be installed in several locations throughout Illinois.
Will Baker presented on the Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program which MEEA coordinates throughout the state. Updates were particularly salient as Ameren Illinois is set to launch IHP September 1st, and ComEd and Nicor Gas customers will soon, too, have access to IHP Silver and Gold certificates. Currently, homeowners in Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas territories have access to IHP certificates and up to $1750 in rebates through combining utility attic insulation rebates and Energy Impact Illinois air sealing rebates.
The presentations and associated discussions on everything from EEPs updates, to workforce training, EVs, HVAC sizing, renewables, performance contracting, recycling, and ethanol made this year’s DCEO Peer Exchange a great success. For more information on the veterans pilot please contact Kerry Granfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or Eric Roach at email@example.com for more information. For more information on IHPwES, contact Will Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org