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It’s just a bill

Monday, Apr 15, 2019

* Post-Dispatch

The owner of economically challenged coal-fired power plants in Southern Illinois is supporting legislation that, if passed, would help transform those sites into facilities for utility-scale solar and energy storage projects.

The Texas-based company, Vistra Energy, acquired the region’s fleet of coal plants when it completed its purchase of Dynegy Inc. last year. It says the facilities are beset by tough economic and policy conditions, and favors a bill before the state legislature that would provide funding to phase them out of production and repurpose the sites, instead of just shutting them down abruptly.

But some environmental groups oppose the measure, characterizing it as a potential “$140 million a year coal bailout,” according to J.C. Kibbey, an Illinois clean energy advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council in Chicago. […]

Vistra employs about 1,000 workers total across its eight Illinois coal plants, Cohn said. The proposal would rely on a combination of funding mechanisms, including renewable energy credits and state-awarded grants. “Transitionary assistance” would be capped at $140 million annually from 2020 through 2024, a five-year period during which given coal plants would remain in operation, with solar or energy storage joining the mix at each site in either 2021 or 2022. The legislation would allow the plants to retire if unforeseen capital expenditures of more than $10 million would be needed to satisfy environmental laws or regulations and keep them in operation.

* Tribune

Legislation approved Thursday by the Illinois House would license craft distillers similar to the way craft brewers are regulated, with the aim of giving a boost to the burgeoning community of artisan spirits makers in the state.

The bill, which still faces a vote in the Senate, would create a license that allows small distillers to self-distribute some product, removing a major hurdle for unknown brands trying get on store shelves, and another license that allows distillers to open up to three satellite locations where they can serve their house-made spirits as well as other alcohol in a pub environment.

The changes would allow craft distillers to build brand awareness and new revenue streams, helping them grow and encouraging new distillers to set up shop in the state, said Noelle DiPrizio, who co-owns Chicago Distilling in Logan Square.

“Based on our surrounding states it would make us one of the more favorable states to start a business,” said DiPrizio, president of the Illinois Craft Distillers Association, which pushed for the bill.

There are 34 businesses federally licensed as craft distillers in Illinois, up from two in 2010, DiPrizio said. If the bill becomes law, “it could double very quickly,” she said.

* Other stuff…

* Illinois House passes bill calling for teaching work ethics in schools: A number of Republicans opposed the bill, arguing that it would be an unfunded mandate on schools and teachers, and that most teachers were already providing that kind of instruction.

* Illinois Senate recap: Scott’s Law awareness measure advances: The bill provides that renewal notices from the secretary of state’s office will advise drivers of how to properly approach a stopped emergency vehicle.

* CUB: Breaking news: SCOTUS will NOT review appellate court decisions that upheld states’ right to advance decarbonization goals through zero-emission credit programs in Illinois and NY. Important victory for cost-effective clean energy

* MisterJayEm: You will never find a more wretched hive of hacks and half-wits.

* The Illinois Keep Internet Devices Safe Act would have empowered average people to sue big companies for recording them without consent, but industry association lobbying defanged it: In its current, neutered form, the bill provides exclusive authority to the Attorney General to enforce the Act, which means regular citizens won’t be able to bring forward a case regarding tech giants recording them in their homes.

* Bill granting power to county board chairmen could die with session

* Recovering Addict Considers Social Impact Of Gambling Expansion

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments »
  1. - Unpopular - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 1:16 pm:

    I am loving the Tribune Editorial.


  2. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    MisterJayEm for the win!


  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 1:35 pm:

    ==The legislation would allow the plants to retire if unforeseen capital expenditures of more than $10 million would be needed to satisfy environmental laws or regulations and keep them in operation.–

    I’m guessing that after five years at $140 million per on the taxpayer dime — $140K per job — those $10 million in “unforeseen” costs will become very clear and they’ll just shut down.

    How fakakta is this? They want a guaranteed $700 million taxpayer score, but if they have to put up $10 million, they can walk away?


  4. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    @Wordslinger

    They had me then they lost me. If they have to pay back the money, then fine. But to get the money and shutdown anyway, why not just throw the money in the toilet? A pretty good bill is suddenly a disaster because of one lousy provision.


  5. - illini - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    @Wordslinger - exactly on point. I live in Southern Illinois Coal Country and can see the “fumes” one of those plant from my from door - and it is 40 miles away.

    Solar and wind makes much more sense and could potentially mean many more jobs. And I have friends who work underground mining that coal and others that work at some of these sites.

    Caving into the coal lobby is exactly what many downstate legislators wish to see, giving them the subsidies and their “weasel” clauses is not the kind of legacy we want to leave for our children and grandchildren.

    We need to do better.


  6. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 2:00 pm:

    I thought this was a great idea until I read the part about Vistra Energy wanting a handout.


  7. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    Solar and wind make much more sense. No. Nuclear makes much more cents.


  8. - BIRDDOG - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 2:51 pm:

    On the Vistra bill, if a plant gets transition money they have to close between 2025-2030. If the $10 M off ramp is used you lose transition money. It combines battery storage and solar at downstate sites where the coal plants close. The transition money helps ensure downstate from falling below energy reserve margins too quickly and causing severe prices spikes. Can’t lose 40% of downstate generation overnight without consequences.


  9. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 3:09 pm:

    –The transition money helps ensure downstate from falling below energy reserve margins too quickly and causing severe prices spikes. Can’t lose 40% of downstate generation overnight without consequences.–

    Huh? “Downstate” is not on the national grid? Illinois power plants are a huge exporter of electricity.


  10. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 3:37 pm:

    Are each of these people plants showing negative cash flow from operations at current prices? If any are, shut them down in sequence, worst cash flow first. If prices spike, rework the cash flow. If still negative, shut down the next worst. Continue till cash flow turns positive or all are shut down.

    No subsidies are required.


  11. - illini - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 4:44 pm:

    @Wordslinger - Is this not a part of a larger narrative being promoted by the coal industry and its affiliated industries and political partners to rescue a dying workforce and an industry that is destroying our planet?


  12. - R.D. Kilowatt - Monday, Apr 15, 19 @ 7:33 pm:

    The history of utility company deals is not a good one. While I love the transition idea, the financial support should, I feel, be contingent on meeting certain milestones along the way, and meting out the money as the milestones are met. Not an all-or-nothing at the end, with all our risk up-front. Without those milestones, the chances are high that the utility company will “dine and dash” on this money.


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