Illinois school groups announce merger which creates energy consortium
The Illinois Association of School Administrators, IASA, the Illinois Association of School Business Officials, IASBO, and the Illinois Association of School Boards, IASB, have announced a merger to create the Illinois Energy Consortium powered by Future Green – Illinois’ largest energy management group.
The three associations say the initiative will help member school districts to reduce their energy spending, protect them from market volatility and invest in renewable energy.
“Price volatility, supply disruptions and the transition to lower carbon generation are just a few of the long-term trends facing the energy markets that we are responding to,” said Dr. Michael Jacoby, executive director/CEO of IASBO.
“This initiative will provide school districts with much-needed stability and cost certainty through aggregating their respective energy loads to secure lower prices than they could on their own.”
The new entity is a merger of the Illinois Energy Consortium, IEC, and the Future Green Energy Consortium, FGEC.
The IEC, created in 1997, is Illinois’ largest electric and natural gas pool. More than 30 percent of all Illinois public school districts and colleges are members.
The FGEC was created in 2016 as a way to provide members with renewable electric power solutions at no out-of-pocket cost.
“Illinois member schools have saved tens of millions of dollars in the past by joining forces under the umbrellas of the IEC and FGEC,” said Dr. Brent Clark, executive director of IASA.
“By merging the two, districts will be able to invest more dollars into the classroom while also exploring green-energy solutions such as on-site solar generation and electrification of bus fleets.”
After the passage of the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in 2021, Illinois school districts are seen as being in a unique position to install solar panels on site and reduce their carbon footprint.
In addition to saving money, on-site solar provides protection from extreme weather events and can potentially generate revenue for the district in the event it is able to sell excess renewable energy back into the grid.
“In February 2021, there were school districts in Illinois forced to close due to a sudden massive spike in the price of natural gas,” said Dr. Tom Bertrand, executive director of IASB.
“That volatility creates stress on the school district, parents and students. Providing more stability with energy costs can allow districts to avoid major disruptions to learning.”
The Illinois Energy Consortium powered by Future Green will be actively managed by Econergy LLC, based in Chicago.
Econergy has helped more than 2,500 schools and businesses across the country unlock access to renewable energy savings by building energy coalitions.