* Steve Daniels says a new draft of Exelon’s subsidy bill is emerging in Springfield…
A new draft version of the bill, obtained by Crain’s, sets forth a different way to calculate subsidies for Exelon’s two at-risk nukes than previous versions, incorporating a social cost of carbon pollution as the baseline for rewarding the nukes for their lack of emissions and then making adjustments based on market conditions. But, like a version from last spring, the subsidy would be capped at $265 million per year. […]
More additional ratepayer charges would support wind and solar energy development in Illinois, made possible by state-negotiated power purchase contracts. The measure calls for more than 4,000 megawatts of new wind and solar over the next 14 years, funded by a charge on the delivery portion of customers’ electric bills. That charge would supplant the current system of requiring power suppliers to pay to meet required renewable energy usage and then passing those costs along to customers.
In addition, steeper charges on electric bills would support much more ambitious utility efforts to reduce power consumption. But, for the first time, utilities like ComEd would be allowed to earn a profit from their administration of these energy efficiency programs. Currently, utilities recoup their administrative costs from ratepayers, but aren’t permitted to charge extra to earn a return.
Missing so far from the bill are provisions Dynegy is seeking to funnel more revenue to its struggling coal fleet in Southern Illinois. Exelon and Dynegy have talked about having the state take over from the regional grid manager for downstate Illinois the responsibility of buying “capacity,” or the obligation to deliver when power demand is highest, from power generators. That would boost the revenue Dynegy’s coal plants receive from downstate ratepayers and allow the company to keep open facilities it’s announced it will close. […]
Ratepayer-funded help for Dynegy is likely to be added to win downstate votes for the package. But that will put environmentalists who’ve lobbied for the bill’s clean energy and efficiency programs in the difficult position of endorsing actions to keep open polluting power plants that otherwise would close.
And, of course, ComEd’s plan to charge people based on their highest usage time is still in there.
This is one heavy lift.