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Court battle over pro nuclear law – ‘Future Energy Jobs’

legal actionFlag-USANuclear power struggle winds up in court, Herald and Review, TONY REID H&R Staff Writer, 19 Feb 17    CLINTON – Smoldering resentment over the new law that saved Clinton Power Station – and its 700 jobs – has now flared into a federal lawsuit.

Filed on Valentine’s Day, the suit expresses no love for the Future Energy Jobs law and asked a federal judge to block the legislation, which is due to take effect in June.

The law guarantees the survival of the Clinton nuclear power station and another nuclear plant in Quad-Cities for 10 years by offering taxpayer subsidies worth up to $235 million a year to top up the price paid for the stations’ electricity.

 Exelon Corp., the owner of both stations, said they were both losing money and faced closure without cash help. It also claimed the subsidies would help even the playing field with other nongreenhouse gas producing energy sources like wind power, which have enjoyed substantial tax breaks.

The lawsuit was filed by several rival power producers, including Dynegy Inc., which once owned the former Illinois Power Co. in Decatur and which runs natural gas and coal-fueled power stations, and a trade group, the Electric Power Supply Association.

They allege the new law is fundamentally unfair and skews the wholesale power marketplace at the expense of power customers because rivals without the advantage of subsidies won’t be able to compete, causing prices to, eventually, rise.

The lawsuit also claims Illinois lawmakers acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally by interfering in a regional wholesale power market that is under the ultimate control of a federal agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.

Running to some 40 pages, the lawsuit spells out the price advantage the two Exelon nuclear stations will enjoy for their power, priced in blocks called megawatt hours, or MWhs. Current prices now, set at regional power auctions, run at $18 and $25 per Mwh for Quad-Cities and Clinton respectively, but will be topped up by taxpayer payments worth another $16.50 per Mwh under the new law…….

And it isn’t just manufacturers that are objecting. The Illinois Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, a consumer organization that often finds itself opposing big companies, is standing with them in opposition to the Future Energy Jobs legislation.

While the organization likes some of the provisions encouraging renewable energy, it has a big problem with effectively bailing out two nuclear power plants.

“We fundamentally don’t agree with it, because Illinois ratepayers have already paid for these nuclear plants multiple times over,” Illinois PIRG director Abe Scarr said.

“Every dollar that we spend on propping up these old nuclear plants is an opportunity lost, and it’s a dollar we’re not spending on the transition to truly clean renewable energy.

“Putting our thumb on the scale for nuclear power depresses the price for the wholesale power market and makes it harder for renewables and other power providers to compete in that market.” http://herald-review.com/business/energy/nuclear-power-struggle-winds-up-in-court/article_389fc122-970a-5910-b39a-b4bf15f8a207.html

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February 20, 2017 - Posted by | Legal, USA

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