The 2nd Annual Illinois Clean Energy Champion Awards celebrated job creation by private companies, nonprofit organizations and governmental units from across Illinois that have seized the chance to make Illinois a national leader in clean energy. The awards recognized what it takes to create and retain good-paying jobs, with a special eye toward creating and retaining equitable jobs in communities historically left behind.

The Clean Energy Champion Awards are a joint project of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition along with media sponsor Crain’s Chicago Business.

“We are honored to be a part of this event and celebrate the forward-looking vision of these companies,” said Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “Clean energy is a key part of our future —in the city, state, and across the country — and I couldn’t be more excited to honor the spirit, passion, and innovation of these stakeholders as they boost our economy, create sustainable jobs, and help improve our environment.” 

“Our coalition was proud to lead the fight to pass the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), the most equitable clean energy jobs bill of its kind in the nation,” said Liliana Scales, State Director for the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition (ICJC), a coalition made up of more than 200 consumer, business, environmental, environmental justice, health care, faith-based and student organizations. “We look forward to working with all stakeholders to create more opportunities to grow the clean energy economy in Illinois with a special focus on creating jobs in Black and Brown communities that have been historically left behind.  We are excited to recognize some of those success stories today.”

Winners were announced in five categories:

1. Nonprofit/Government: IBEW Renewable Energy Fund

2. Large Business: LiveWire Construction

3. Breakthrough Business: Sesenergi Eco Solutions Enterprise LLC

4. Technology and Innovation: SunPower by Sun N Us

5. Small Business: Trajectory Energy Partners

Award applications were reviewed by a diverse panel of judges including: Andrew Wells (Chicago Urban League), Anna Stephens (ClimatePartner), Arlinda Bajrami (Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance), Becky Goldberg (Illinois Science and Technology Coalition), Erin LaVoie (Illinois for Resource Innovations), Haven Allen (mHub), Jay Rowell (HIRE360), Kelly Evans (Chicago Urban League), Kalindi Parikh (Current), Kristin Jacobson Flex (Illinois Central College), MeLena Hessel (Elevate), Michelle Lauterbach (ClimatePartner), Olantunji Oboi Reed (Equiticity Racial Equity Movement), Samarth Medakkar (Advanced Energy United), and Uzma Noormohamed (Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation).

Since CEJA passed two years ago, Illinois has procured nearly 3,000 megawatt (MW) of solar, enough to power 450,000 homes and roughly the equivalent of eight coal plants. One third of that (1,000 MW) is distributed generation – solar projects powering our homes, businesses, and communities via rooftop and community solar. The Illinois Clean Energy Champion Awards luncheon was held at the Ivy Room in Chicago on Thursday, October 19.