Encouraging News For Illinois Nuclear Plants, But Policy Reforms Still Needed
Friday, Oct 30, 2015
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Yesterday, Exelon announced that it will defer any decisions about the future operations of its Clinton nuclear plant for one year. This is encouraging news for Illinois. According to a report by the State of Illinois, the Clinton plant supports nearly 1,900 jobs and contributes $481 million to the state’s economy. Overall, Illinois’ nuclear energy facilities produce 90 percent of the state’s carbon-free energy, support 28,000 jobs, and inject nearly $9 billion into the Illinois economy every year.
Over the past year, Exelon has worked to educate policymakers on the economic challenges facing several of its nuclear plants and the potential that they could be prematurely closed. The General Assembly and Governor have been focused on the budget and have not had a full opportunity to consider this issue. The challenges have not gone away, but Exelon decided to continue operating Clinton at a loss for an additional year to allow policymakers more time to consider potential solutions.
The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) recently began examining capacity market reforms. Such reforms could alleviate some of the economic pressures facing the Clinton plant. While MISO’s recognizing the need for market reforms is encouraging, if reforms are not timely implemented and economic conditions for the Clinton nuclear plant do not improve, Exelon will be forced to take steps to reduce its losses, which may include shutting the plant.
Policy reforms, such as the Low Carbon Portfolio Standard and a state implementation plan for the Clean Power Plan, that properly recognize and value the significant amount of carbon-free electricity derived from the nuclear fleet are still needed to level the playing field for all forms of clean energy and best position the State of Illinois to meet EPA’s new carbon reduction rules.
Learn more about the benefits of nuclear energy at www.NuclearPowersIllinois.com