Exelon to close 2 nuke plants next year

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Historically low wholesale power prices, combined with a glut of power supply, have combined to put financial pressure on the nukes, which by their nature must operate at all hours whether they’re needed or not.

“We recognize this comes as many of our communities are still recovering from the economic and public health impacts of the pandemic, and we will continue our dialogue with policymakers on ways to prevent these closures,” Exelon CEO Chris Crane said in a release. “To that end, we have opened our books to policymakers and will continue to do so for any lawmaker who wishes to judge the plants’ profitability.”

The two plants employ more than 1,500 and pay more than $63 million in local taxes, the company said.

And, in an assertion implicitly aimed at Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the company said, “The two plants supply 30 percent of Illinois’ carbon-free energy and are essential to meeting the state’s goal to achieve 100 percent clean energy.”

Pritzker just last Friday attempted to restart discussions around comprehensive energy legislation that had been derailed with the July admissions by Exelon-owned Commonwealth Edison of paying off friends and allies of House Speaker Michael Madigan over the year in order to win favorable legislation.

That included the Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016, which imposed new charges on ratepayers statewide to subsidize two other nukes that Exelon had announced it was closing. The subsidies provide $235 million to Exelon each year.

The set of principles Pritzker provided for a bill he’d favor included dismissal of Exelon’s proposal to have the state take over from a federally chartered regional grid operator the function of setting the prices power plants receive for their promise each year to deliver during high-demand periods.

“We agree with Gov. Pritzker that policy reform is urgently needed to address the climate crisis and advance Illinois’ clean energy economy, and we support the objectives of the governor’s recent energy principles,” Crane said in the release. “That’s separate from today’s announcement to retire these two zero-carbon nuclear plants, which was not a decision made lightly and is one that has been in the works for some time.”

26-Delivered

via Crain’s Chicago Business

August 27, 2020 at 08:12AM

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