No deal yet in Illinois for Exelon nuclear plants

June 17, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Illinois Senate adjourned on June 15 without calling a comprehensive energy regulatory reform package for a vote, Capitol News Illinois reported. State Sen. Bill Cunningham (D., Chicago) and Senate president Don Harmon (D., Oak Park) said afterward that they expect a vote to happen sometime this summer as negotiations continue.

"There are still some points of contention between two critical constituencies—between labor and the environmental activists,” said Harmon, who added that he is “confident” an energy bill will pass this summer.

Committee meeting: Regarding an Energy and Public Utilities Committee hearing that took place before the Senate meeting on Tuesday, Cunningham said that the bill had stalled because of disagreements over decarbonization measures aimed at taking coal and gas plants off line.

The hang-up: Cunningham noted that there are two proposals—one supported by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the environmental community, which includes an accelerated decarbonization schedule; and the other supported by the state’s organized labor and would be on a less accelerated form of decarbonization.

From the governor’s office: In prepared testimony distributed after the committee session, Illinois deputy governor Christian Mitchell said that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s bill would, among other things, preserve 2,000 nuclear jobs by subsidizing three of Exelon’s nuclear power plants. The bill would provide $694 million in subsidies to the three nuclear plants at a cost of about 80 cents on the average monthly ratepayer bill.

What’s next: Capitol News Illinois noted that the Illinois House was scheduled to come back to the Capitol today to deal with the energy package, but it was not clear if the House would take the lead on an energy proposal in the absence of Senate action.

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