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Illinois governor’s energy plan shakes up debate over nuclear and renewables

Illinois governor’s energy plan shakes up debate over nuclear and renewables, Energy News, Kari Lydersen, August 27, 2020  ” ………..Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker  ‘s  Aug. 20 announcement came in the wake of revelations about alleged widespread bribery and corruption by utility ComEd, and the first point of Pritzker’s eight-point plan demands ethics reform and strengthening utility company transparency. The governor’s plan would likely take a proposal for a state-run capacity market off the table. That concept, part of the Clean Energy Jobs Act and backed by both the Clean Jobs Coalition and ComEd’s parent company Exelon, would prioritize  zero emissions sources in capacity, essentially creating new subsidies for nuclear plants while limiting payments to fossil fuel plants. Theoretically renewables could also benefit from capacity payments, but renewable company leaders said the proposal as drafted would not help them.
The coalition says that a fixed resource requirement, or FRR, that changes how capacity is procured in northern Illinois is key to funding increased residential and community solar and clean energy equity programs, since — they say — it would mean savings on unnecessary capacity payments that could be funneled into the state’s incentive program for solar. …….

Critics say the fixed resource requirement as drafted would not really save money, and that Exelon’s nuclear plants don’t really need more support in order to keep operating. And solar and wind companies say the proposed requirement would not help them, in part because it would only apply to PJM territory in northern Illinois, not the MISO market downstate. While renewables could technically participate in a state-run capacity market, just as they can in PJM’s capacity market, they say the proposed terms are unworkable.  …..

Freedom from influence?

While the corruption scandal seemingly chills the political power that ComEd and Exelon might have had to help pass clean energy legislation, some clean energy advocates described it as a refreshing chance to push legislation without major corporate backing. ………

“It’s always been a reluctant partnership to get this work done. … We’ve been told whenever we need to pass an energy bill that the only route to passage was working with utilities and certain energy companies,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, a Clean Jobs Coalition member. “That was the reality we had to work under, but there was never any group that relished or wanted to do so. [Now] we are excited about getting the chance to pass a bill that’s not written by utilities, that has the best policy for consumers and equity.”

Walling added that “political corruption has plagued the energy sector for decades in Illinois.”……… https://energynews.us/2020/08/27/midwest/illinois-governors-energy-plan-shakes-up-debate-over-nuclear-and-renewables/

August 29, 2020 - Posted by | politics, USA

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