The Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition and Citizens Utility Board held a clean energy forum at SIU today, to discuss the future of clean energy.
Facilitated by a coalition of groups, the event included a presentation and discussion of what Southern Illinois needs to help reach renewable energy goals.
“Every community is going to be unique,” said Amanda Pankau, a community coordinator with the Prairie Rivers Network. “We want to make sure the policies we are developing at a state level reflect what those communities need.”
Facilitators led the crowd in a discussion about four key areas - jobs and the economy, reaching 100% renewable energy, a carbon-free electric sector, and getting more electric vehicles on the road.
Issues raised by attendees included the need for jobs with guaranteed benefits that train and hire local workers, as well as the need to lower the cost of switching to renewable fuel sources.
The forum included community members and SIU students.
“We’re the future,” said SIU freshman Lauren George. “We have more passion in what will happen in 50 years, when we have to live with what we do now.”