Byron, Dresden saved by the bill?

September 9, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

With only days remaining before the scheduled retirement of Exelon Generation’s Byron nuclear plant, the Illinois General Assembly may be close to passing a comprehensive energy package (S.B. 2408) that would save that plant, as well as the state’s similarly struggling Braidwood and Dresden facilities.

House Democrats have introduced an amendment to S.B. 2408 that would require municipally owned coal plants to achieve a 45 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 and completely phase out coal by 2045. The House is considering the amendment today.

(Financial assistance to Illinois’s nuclear fleet is part of a package that for weeks has been mired in disagreement between unions and environmental groups over the fate of the state’s coal plants.)

S.B. 2408 endorsements: From Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker: “I would like to thank Speaker Welch [Chris Welch, D., 7th Dist.] and Leader Evans [Marcus Evans Jr., D., 33rd Dist.] for their collaborative leadership in reaching a compromise amendment that puts consumers and climate first, while protecting and creating jobs. I look forward to this amendment advancing in the House and Senate and making its way to my desk, where I will sign this historic agreement into law.”

From union-backed Climate Jobs Illinois: “The bill will create thousands of new clean energy union jobs, expand union apprenticeships for Black and Latinx communities, increase energy efficiency for public schools, and safeguard thousands of union workers at the state’s nuclear plants that currently generate the bulk of Illinois’s zero-emissions energy. These key components were our top priorities in any clean energy legislation enacted, so we are pleased with the result.”

From the environmentalist group Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition: “After more than three years of community collaboration, the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition is proud to support this legislation that meaningfully addresses our climate emergency, takes bold action on creating equitable jobs all across the state, and enacts tough utility accountability measures, including the end of automatic formula rate hikes.”

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