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Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill., signed into law a renewable energy standard that will require Illinois utilities to supply 2% of their power from renewable energy sources by 2008, 10% by 2015 and 25% by 2025. An accompanying energy efficiency portfolio standard requires utilities to reduce overall electric usage by 0.2% of demand in 2008 and 2.0% by 2015.

Wind power is expected to play a major role in new renewable energy generation in the state as utilities work toward meeting the new requirements, according to the governor's office. Illinois is the hub for many transmission lines, making connecting new wind projects to the electricity grid more affordable than in other states, the governor's office adds.

"The legislation will spark a surge in wind power construction and economic development in Illinois," says Howard A. Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. "More clean, renewable energy is a win-win-win - it's good for farmers, good for rural economic development and good for the environment."

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