On February 28th, AES Solar Founder and Chief Tech Aur Beck spoke at a press conference in support of the new Clean Energy Jobs Act that was recently introduce to Illinois legislature. This ambitious bill aims to source 45% of Illinois power from renewables by 2030, and eventually 100% by 2050.
At the heart of this bill is a plan to staff this massive infrastructure project by bringing thousands of new, stable, long-term jobs to Illinoisans, particularly in low-income and minority communities, where solar can often make the biggest impact by alleviating burdensome power bills. AES Solar is no stranger to the social benefits of solar, having donated systems to Habitat for Humanity and used the opportunity to train the next generation of solar installers. This bill is in lock step with our mission to power a sustainable economy, and bring solar power, education, and jobs to our neighborhoods. Keep scrolling for a full video of the conference and an annotated transcription of Aur’s remarks.
Good day. My name is Aur Beck, and I’m Founder and Chief Tech for AES Solar. I founded AES Solar in 1999, and it’s been a tumultuous roller coaster of 20 years of solar. But in the last three years we have had the passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act, this law the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition was proud to play a very pivotal role in.
Now, because of that, the state has already ramped up, tremendously, solar, and it was the greatest breakthrough of any program. We went from the bottom of the barrel in the united states to very much on the trajectory to become one of the top ten in solar. The clean energy sector is starting to boom. It is very much on this trajectory. Already more than 130,000 people are employed in clean energy in our state, and that number is climbing extremely rapidly. According to the National Solar Foundation’s job census, the state of Illinois outpaced 48 states in the creation of new solar jobs in 2018. This was the byproduct of the Future Energy Jobs Act put in place a couple years ago.
So Illinois is already leading, and I can say I’m part of that leadership. And our company, in the last couple of years, we’ve tripled business and quadrupled employees. And so Illinois must create this path to continue on, and ensure that the jobs and economic benefits created by the energy and transportation sector come to our state. Passage of this new legislation is vital, so that Illinois wins a clean, equitable energy future. The clean energy future is happening. It’s here, it’s now, and I’m very proud to be part of it.