Coal power plant with wind farm in background

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Illinois contains about 15% recoverable coal reserves and is the nation’s second-largest coal producer. Five of the 11 remaining Illinois coal plants are destined for closure in the coming years, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

As a result of economic fallout from plant closures, there has been a large loss of employment among Illinois coal-based communities. However, funding opportunities and transition planning to renewable forms of energy can help those economies to become more resilient to changing conditions.

To help communities diversify local economies and recover from employment loss and economic hardship, University of Illinois Extension is hosting a free virtual webinar on Tuesday, June 8 at noon with Darrin Fleener and Amanda Pankau as lead presenters.

The program will offer an overview of federal and state policy regarding affected communities impacted by the energy transition, federal funding opportunities, how these programs can benefit communities, and a brief overview of Energy Legislation in Illinois.

Register in advance online at:

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in the online session, contact organizer Nancy Ouedraogo at Early requests are strongly encouraged.


Fleener is an economic development representative with the U.S. Department of Commerce and serves the states of Illinois and Minnesota. Prior to working with the EDA, Fleener worked for 13 years with the State of Oregon’s Economic Development Department. As an economic development professional, Fleener has experience in both urban and rural impacted communities. 

Pankau works with Prairie Rivers Network’s campaign to talk with advocates, leaders, and communities about the benefits of renewable energy and address the costs of non-renewable sources such as coal plants. Additionally, she develops and implements policies to ensure a just, clean transition to renewable energy.