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Exelon may be about to split off its unprofitable nuclear generation business.

Exelon May Split Its Utilities From Nuclear, Generation BusinessExelon’s mulls a split for its generation business with two Illinois nuclear plants facing closure and others struggling.  GTM, JEFF ST. JOHN NOVEMBER 04, 2020  Exelon Corp. confirmed Tuesday that it is exploring a plan to separate its multistate utilities businesses from its generation business, which is preparing to close two of its 21 nuclear power plants due to money-losing market conditions.CEO Chris Crane confirmed the “review of our corporate structure,” first reported to be underway by Bloomberg last month, during the Chicago-based company’s third-quarter earnings conference call. The move comes as Exelon is struggling with profitability at several of its nuclear plants, which face falling energy prices and challenging conditions in the capacity market run by mid-Atlantic grid operator PJM.

Exelon has secured zero-emissions credits for financially struggling nuclear plants in New York and New Jersey, two states seeking to eliminate their carbon emissions by midcentury, and has won similar credits as part of Illinois’ 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act that supply about $235 million per year in zero-emissions credits to its Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants.

But Exelon has not secured subsidies for four other Illinois nuclear power plants, including the Byron and Dresden facilities. In August it announced it will close those plants in 2021 and may also seek early retirement of its Braidwood and LaSalle power plants unless it can obtain state support to bolster their economics. ………

State support for zero-carbon nuclear scrambled by bribery scandal

Exelon had gathered support last year for a bill that would have created a new state capacity market structure to bolster its nuclear fleet’s revenues. This “Fixed Resource Requirement,” or FRR, structure would have pulled some plants out of PJM’s capacity market, where they are likely to struggle to compete under federally mandated rules that will force state-subsidized resources to adhere to minimum bids that could undermine their competitiveness against fossil-fueled power plants .

But the FRR plan contained in last year’s Clean Energy Jobs Act lost lawmaker support in the wake of Exelon utility ComEd’s connection to a federal bribery investigation alleging the utility steered jobs, contracts and payments to House Speaker Michael Madigan in exchange for favorable treatment in the state capitol. Exelon agreed to pay a $200 million fine and submit to a deferred prosecution agreement this summer.

Gov. Pritzker has so far rebuffed Exelon’s entreaties for state aid for its nuclear power plants, calling its August decision to close the Byron and Dresden plants a “threat.”   Pritzker’s office has proposed a clean energy plan laying out his preferred path for achieving the state’s decarbonization goals, after the Clean Energy Jobs Act and a rival clean energy bill, dubbed Path to 100, were unable to advance during this year’s legislative session, which was dominated by issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crane told analysts that gaining an FRR for Exelon’s Illinois nuclear fleet was not a “gating factor” for whether or not it would move forward with its reorganization. “If the plants are not profitable, they don’t cover their cash needs or the earning requirements, we shut them down, with or without FRR,” he said. “Some people have called it a threat. It’s not a threat. It is just a reality.”……….


November 5, 2020 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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