Low-Carbon Bill Could Help Exelon Plants, Including Clinton

February 26, 2015
In this March 16, 2011 file photo, steam escapes from Exelon Corp.'s nuclear plant in Byron, Illinois.

In this March 16, 2011 file photo, steam escapes from Exelon Corp.'s nuclear plant in Byron, Ill. Illinois lawmakers are considering clean-energy legislation backed by Exelon Corp. to keep three unprofitable nuclear plants afloat.

(AP Photo/Robert Ray, File)

After issuing warnings it may have to close down half its nuclear fleet, Exelon has introduced a proposal it says would keep them open.  It signals the start of what's expected to be a long debate over Illinois' energy policy.

The idea proposed Thursday would require utilities to reward producers of low-carbon power for being environmentally friendly. That would include wind, solar, water and clean-burning coal as well as nuclear.
 
Exelon's Joseph Dominguez said the company supports the plan and that any low-carbon source could compete.

"No one from Exelon has ever denied that the company is profitable. It is," he said.  "What we're talking about is the profitability of units that are persistently losing money and our inability to keep those units open unless we recognize the important attributes that they provide."

By units, he means nuclear plants. Specifically, those in Clinton, the Quad Cities, and Byron.

Exelon wants most of big utilities' energy to come from low-carbon sources. Basically, customers would likely pay more for power that doesn't contribute to global warming.

But critics say Exelon is asking for a bailout, and trying to hobble their green competitors like wind and solar power.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio