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Exelon moves to shutdown 2 nuclear power stations in Illinois, amidst subsidy negotiations.

Exelon moves to shut down 2 nuclear power plants in Illinois,, Dan Petrella Chicago Tribune Jul 29, 2021  CHICAGO — The parent company of scandal-plagued Commonwealth Edison filed plans with federal regulators to shut down two nuclear power plants for which it is seeking state subsidies that have been caught up in stalled energy negotiations in Springfield.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has proposed a deal that would put power customers on the hook for a nearly $700 million bailout of three Exelon nuclear plants, including the plants in Byron and Dresden that are facing closure. Lawmakers returned to the Capitol in mid-June to vote on an energy policy overhaul but left town without an agreement on the timeline for phasing out natural gas-fired plants.

Exelon has argued that state subsidies are necessary for its nuclear plants, which don’t emit carbon pollution,[ as long as you don’t include the full nuclear fuel chain]  to compete with plants that run on fossil fuels………….

Exelon’s threat to close the plants mirrors the company’s strategy from 2016, when it succeeded in winning approval for subsidies for two other plants. That legislation is now at the center of an ongoing federal corruption investigation in which its ComEd subsidiary has admitted to engaging in yearslong bribery scheme to win support for its agenda in Springfield.

During negotiations this spring, lawmakers were hesitant to appear to be doing the bidding of Exelon and ComEd in the wake of the scandal but also were eager to preserve thousands of high-paying union jobs at the nuclear plants.

Pritzker’s office and Exelon found common ground in the waning hours of the spring legislative session. But disagreements on other issues derailed a final deal on a larger package that would put the state on a path toward Pritzker’s goal of 100% carbon-free energy by 2050.

When the state Senate adjourned its one-day session in mid-June without voting, Senate President Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, pointed to an ongoing disagreement between two of his party’s core constituencies: organized labor and environmental advocates…….

Further complicating the issue, there are discussions in Congress about potential federal tax credits for nuclear plants that could be even more lucrative than what Illinois is considering.

A proposal from U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, would create a tax credit for nuclear generators worth more than three times the ratepayer subsidy Illinois lawmakers are considering. But that plan would subtract the value of any state support, meaning ComEd customers would essentially be picking up part of the tab from federal taxpayers…………

from the company’s perspective, any help from Washington wouldn’t come in time to preserve the plants. Byron, near Rockford, is slated for closure in September, with Dresden, in Grundy County, to follow in November……..

July 31, 2021 - Posted by | politics, USA

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