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I got your threats right here

Friday, Nov 8, 2019

* Steve Daniels asks how credible Exelon’s threat is to close four of its six nuclear power plants if it doesn’t get a ratepayer bailout

The four plants operated by Illinois’ largest power generator together have the capacity to generate nearly 8,900 megawatts, enough to serve 7.8 million customers. It’s fair to say those four facilities produce the majority of electrons keeping lights on in the Chicago area. Mothballing them sounds like a nightmare scenario, right?

But the company can’t just close plants without alternatives in place. Exelon would have to submit a plan to PJM Interconnection, the grid operator overseeing a multistate region that includes northern Illinois, to ensure replacement power is available. If not, Exelon would need to keep one or more plants open on year-to-year contracts negotiated by PJM until reliability was ensured. […]

The cost to Exelon of retiring plants that otherwise would operate for another 25 years or more could be substantial. In Illinois, thanks to the 1997 state law that deregulated power generation, ratepayers bear no responsibility for financing the eventual radioactive decommissioning and restoration of those sites. The funds Exelon has set aside to handle that multibillion-dollar job for two of those facilities, the Byron and Braidwood stations, are woefully low. Judging by what Exelon told investors in 2016—the last time it came close to shuttering plants in Illinois—it could be on the hook to furnish more than $1 billion to assure federal regulators there will be enough money for the job.

In addition, reactors at one of the four plants—Dresden in Morris—already are scheduled to close in 2029 and 2031, respectively, when their federal licenses expire. Dresden currently is obligated to run until at least June 2021. Subsidizing the plant with ratepayer cash would appear to buy workers and the Grundy County community that benefits economically from the nuke no more than about eight years.

There’s more, so go read the rest.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments »
  1. - DD - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 3:59 pm:

    Exelon playbook page 1, play 1. The book doesn’t have more plays in it because play 1 has always worked. We’ll see how that works this time.

    Crain’s has thoughts on this one.

    https://www.chicagobusiness.com/opinion/exelon-still-has-juice-springfield-only-if-lawmakers-allow-it


  2. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 4:05 pm:

    Ran into the paywall. How much are taxpayers supposed to shell out, exactly, to keep a few hundred jobs going for 8 more years? Assuming Exelon doesn’t come back in 3 or 4 years demanding even more money, of course.


  3. - JIbba - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 4:09 pm:

    Wanna play hardball? Pass a law saying that the decommissioning funds must be fully funded by the time the plants stop producing power. Maybe we need to get our money out of them before they go bankrupt like coal companies or pull some other financial trickery.


  4. - Play 2 - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 4:13 pm:

    DD -

    I like the cut of your jib. Maybe you could found some sort of opposition front group to fight back against Exelon. Lots of lobbyists you could hire that may have a lot of insight to share.


  5. - Ok - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 4:18 pm:

    I think the reality is that eventually ComEd and Exelon must realize that the position they are in is one where they have a lot more to lose (from where they are already) than to gain (what more they want).


  6. - NorthsideNoMore - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 4:23 pm:

    Try this, close the plants and watch the lights go out along with the money that will go to other states when we have to import electricity, and don’t for get the millions in lost tax revenues. Illinois has one big economic tool cheaper energy than many surrounding states.


  7. - foster brooks - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 4:25 pm:

    Pennsylvania didn’t bend for exelons demands


  8. - Nagidam - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 4:43 pm:

    What is interesting in this discussion is a lack of response from organizations like Citizens Utility Board, Illinois Environmental Council, or Sierra Club to Exelon’s demands. What’s their plan to replace 8900 megawatts?


  9. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 4:45 pm:

    I’m really glad Jen Walling sold out to a corrupt company with an obviously bogus threat for a few crumbs. And bragged about it.

    Makes me wonder if there were crumbs we didn’t know about.


  10. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 4:47 pm:

    - What’s their plan to replace 8900 megawatts? -

    That’s what you take away from this? Brilliant.

    It’s Exelon that has to come up with that plan. Basic reading comprehension should lead you to the conclusion that they aren’t going to, and even if they did they aren’t going to put up the money to decommission.

    This is really very simple.


  11. - Chicago 20 - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 5:04 pm:

    Exelon is a regulated utility.
    Regulated utilities must earn profits for their shareholders.
    One way or another Excelon’s customers will pay Excelon’s costs of business along with a profit margin.


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