* From Crain’s…
The clock is now ticking for Exelon Corp.’s Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear power plants.
CEO Chris Crane said the company would have to decide by year-end on whether to shutter nuclear facilities that currently are losing money due to persistently low wholesale power prices. Analysts have identified the downstate Clinton plant and Quad Cities as the two in Illinois that fit this description. […]
A number of state politicians, including Senate Energy Committee Chairman Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, who represents the district including Quad Cities, would want at least to explore ways to keep open the plants, each of which employ hundreds of union workers and contribute millions each year in local taxes.
Mr. Crane has been a vocal critic of state and federal subsidies to wind farms that are competing with Exelon’s plants. Tax credits enable wind farms in areas of the country that have a surplus of power, like Illinois, to run profitably even when wholesale prices are zero.
Those two possible plant closures would, indeed, be a major blow to the respective regional economies.
* Exelon wants to make its decision by year’s end, and the threat of closure could prompt legislative action…
If lawmakers entice the company to enter into negotiations on what it would take to keep the plants open, given the deadline Mr. Crane laid down on closure decisions, a bill would have to be acted on in the legislative veto session that takes place in November.
That two-week session would be a challenging venue for acting on such a request, which inevitably would be highly controversial and would open the door to requests from every energy-related interest group.