Utility-scale batteries can grow Illinois’ economy and create quality jobs

New report shows Illinois’ battery industry could support over 3,150 jobs annually
Media Contact:

Mary CollinsMary@americanjobsproject.us  |  866.517.5045 ext. 702

Date Published: April 24, 2017

Normal, Illinois – Building on Illinois’ strengths in battery storage can maximize job growth and give the state a competitive economic edge. That’s according to The Illinois Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Utility-Scale Batteries, a new report created by the American Jobs Project in partnership with Illinois State University. The report is funded by The JPB Foundation, Incite Labs, the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, the Fung Institute, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.

“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on industrial clusters can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” said Mary Collins, author of the Illinois Jobs Project. “For Illinois, this approach could employ an average of 3,150 people annually in the advanced energy storage industry over the next 14 years.”

Millions of Americans lost good-paying jobs during the recession, and unfortunately, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been in relatively low-skill, low-income occupations. In contrast, the Illinois Jobs Project proposes innovative strategies to create thousands of skilled jobs that pay well for Illinoisans today and into the future, informed by principles of competition, local control, and less red tape.

The report recommends state-specific policies and non-legislative solutions to support job creation by capitalizing on growing market opportunities and aligning manufacturing with critical economic system components, including access to capital, innovation ecosystems, and workforce development.

The Illinois Jobs Project finds that:

  • Illinois has a substantial supply chain that can serve as a base from which to grow the local manufacturing sector. The state’s battery supply chain is home to a variety of local companies, including developers and manufacturers of battery components, as well as supporting industries such as metal and electrical equipment manufacturing. Chicago’s thriving business services industry is another asset to the battery manufacturing industry.
  • Rising national and regional demand for utility-scale energy storage present an opportunity for Illinois to supply locally produced batteries. The Future Energy Jobs Bill will result in more wind and solar deployments in coming years, highlighting the need for storage to streamline integration of renewables on the grid. Moreover, access to PJM and MISO provide an opportunity for regional market participation, with MISO facing a 400 MW generation capacity shortfall in 2018.
  • Advanced energy storage manufacturing is an ideal mechanism for job growth in Illinois due to the state’s access to world-class battery storage research, Illinois’ local supply chain, growing demand for energy storage, and the state’s robust workforce development programs.
  • By building strong economic foundations that support industry growth, Illinois’ utility-scale battery storage industry has the opportunity to employ an average of 3,150 Illinoisans each year for the next 14 years.

Illinois State University’s David Loomis was an advisor to the Illinois Jobs Project. Loomis stated, “The Illinois Jobs Project captures the unique characteristics of the Illinois electricity market and provides a policy blueprint to advance the energy storage market in Illinois. If these policy prescriptions are correctly implemented, energy storage has the potential to create significant jobs for the state in both services and manufacturing.”

Argonne National Lab, Illinois State University, and the American Jobs Project also co-hosted a stakeholder working group to discuss barriers to growing Illinois’ energy storage economy.  “This report is a tool to ignite dialogue between stakeholders on how to work together to grow our energy storage and advanced manufacturing economy,” added George Crabtree, an Argonne National Laboratory Distinguished Fellow, who also serves as Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR).

The American Jobs Project website features reports on Illinois and many other states, as well as a Policy Bank detailing best practices and innovative ideas for job growth in advanced energy industries. To learn more or to download a copy of the Illinois report, visit http://americanjobsproject.us/ajp-state/illinois/.