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Exelon demanding Illinois state subsidies for 2 nuclear power stations

Exelon Threatens to Close 2 Nuclear Plants as Battle Over State Subsidies Looms
Illinois governor nixes the utility’s preferred legislative fix, leaving the future of its ZECs in doubt.
Greentech Media JEFF ST. JOHN AUGUST 28, 2020 Exelon is following through with a threat to close two of its Illinois nuclear power plants by next year unless it receives state support to boost their financial viability……..

with a bribery scandal involving Exelon subsidiary Commonwealth Edison eroding its political clout in the state, and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker saying he won’t support the utility’s preferred plan to boost its nuclear plant revenue, it’s unclear whether Exelon will get what it says it needs to keep the plants open.

Exelon subsidiary Exelon Generation’s announcement that it plans to close its Byron and Dresden power plants in 2021, decades ahead of schedule, cited long-standing economic pressures on a fleet that supplies the vast majority of the state’s carbon-free generation.

The utility also warned that it may seek early retirement of its Braidwood and LaSalle power plants……

Hurdles for Exelon at the state and federal levels

Last week, Pritzker’s office released a clean energy plan laying out the governor’s preferred path forward for stalled energy legislation, a plan which excludes most of Exelon’s preferred policies to support its nuclear fleet. ……….
Exelon CEO Chris Crane warned earlier this month that the utility, which owns the country’s largest nuclear generating fleet and operates utilities in Illinois, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C., faced diminishing prospects for keeping its struggling Illinois nuclear fleet running in the face of continued financial losses.
The plan from the governor also moves away from Exelon’s preferred method of creating a Fixed Resource Requirement structure to allow its nuclear power plants to exit the wholesale capacity markets of mid-Atlantic grid operator PJM. Exelon’s nuclear fleet is expected to be unable to compete in PJM’s capacity market under new rules it’s been ordered to create by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Those rules will force state-subsidized resources to use administratively fixed minimum prices when bidding to compete against other resources in the market.

Exelon worked with legislators and environmental groups to include a version of the Fixed Resource Requirement in the Clean Energy Jobs Act legislation introduced last year. However, the bill stalled in 2019 after the federal bribery investigation involving ComEd was announced. CEJA and a rival clean energy bill, dubbed Path to 100, were also unable to advance during this year’s legislative session, which was constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ComEd’s decision in July to pay a $200 million fine and submit to a deferred prosecution agreement in connection to the federal investigation alleging the utility steered jobs, contracts and payments to House Speaker Michael Madigan in exchange for favorable treatment in state legislation has made for a toxic environment in the state capitol.
Pritzker suspended the Energy Working Group involved in crafting state energy legislation after ComEd’s deferred prosecution agreement last month. The energy plan released this week makes it clear that Pritzker views the Fixed Resource Requirement plan as “a sizable windfall for Exelon’s existing nuclear fleet in Illinois” and less appealing than a plan based on a carbon price, stated Rob Rains, an analyst with Washington Analysis, in a research note released this week. ………

August 29, 2020 - Posted by | politics, USA

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