Update: The Energy ON TO 2050 strategy paper is now available, and your feedback is welcome. Send your thoughts, ideas, or questions to ONTO2050@cmap.illinois.gov.
Energy systems have significant influence over the economic and environmental health of the Chicago region. Development of the ON TO 2050 plan provides a good opportunity to examine the future of energy in a forward-looking but practical way. The previous long-range plan, GO TO 2040, emphasized the importance of increased energy efficiency and renewable energy generation. While both of these directions are expected to continue, a comprehensive examination of energy is warranted to clarify CMAP's role in forwarding energy issues, help stakeholders understand their role in a sustainable energy future, help meet local and regional greenhouse gas emissions targets, and contribute to other quality-of-life goals.
Understanding energy in the Chicago Region
The energy sector is complex. The organizational and regulatory framework that governs the generation, delivery, and use of energy is hindered by structural inefficiencies within the energy sector. Emerging trends, which pose potential opportunities for the region, also may experience conflict with this framework. Such trends include a steady shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and from centralized to decentralized energy systems, and significant technological advancements in building efficiency, "smart grid" applications, distributed generation and energy storage, and transportation energy. It is essential to remove barriers to innovative energy solutions to ensure a clean, smart, equitable, and resilient energy system for the region.
Energy Strategy for ON TO 2050
The Energy strategy paper will seek to identify barriers in the energy sector and prioritize potential near-term actions by both CMAP and entities with decision making authority, including local governments and utilities. As a comprehensive regional planning agency, CMAP also has the unique ability to identify and highlight areas where energy intersects with other topics; for the purposes of ON TO 2050, these topics include transportation technology, reinvestment and infill, housing, economic resilience, climate resilience, and water.
CMAP is partnering with the Foresight Design Initiative to create the Energy strategy paper. Foresight will lead and convene a Resource Group, comprised of topical experts, in addition to several broader focus groups to prepare the Energy strategy paper, which is scheduled for release in Spring 2017. CMAP will also work with its Environment and Natural Resources Working Committee and other stakeholders as needed to shape its approach to energy in ON TO 2050.