Illinois deal likely for Exelon nuclear plants

June 3, 2021, 9:31AMANS Nuclear Cafe


An energy proposal in Illinois that would keep the state’s nuclear power plants on line while providing incentives for wind and solar generation is likely to be approved by Illinois lawmakers and signed into law by the governor, according to a news report yesterday from Capitol News Illinois.

Senate president Don Harmon (D., Oak Park) noted on June 1 that a deal had been reached between Gov. J. B. Pritzker and Exelon, the parent company of Commonwealth Edison and the owner of six nuclear power plants in Illinois.

Job saver: Approving the energy deal “would save jobs, which has been our goal all along,” Harmon said. “That’s why we support the governor in these talks. We also stand with the governor on decarbonization targets that need to be in a final deal.”

State budget: Harmon’s comments were made about a day after the Illinois House and Senate passed a $42.3 billion budget plan for the new fiscal year, which began on July 1. As noted in the Capitol News Illinois story, passage of a budget is typically one of the last things lawmakers do before adjourning a legislative session.

Nuclear’s role: This year, however, talks on an energy package were continuing behind closed doors. The governor is pushing the state toward renewable and zero-emission sources for its electricity, with a goal of achieving a 100 percent non-carbon generation system by 2050.

That goal would rely on keeping the state’s nuclear power plants operating. Exelon has threatened to close two or more nuclear plants that it says are unprofitable unless it receives subsidies to make them economically viable.