News Local/State

Utilities Try Again For Legislation To Save Clinton Plant

Exelon's Clinton nuclear power station.

Exelon's Clinton nuclear power station, in an undated photo. (Wikimedia Commons)

Exelon estimates it will lose more than $100-million on its Clinton and Quad Cities Nuclear Power plants in 2017 unless it can get money to preserve those reactors. The company's Exelon Generation and Commonwealth Edison divisions are proposing new legislation offering incentives to those plants and to solar and wind producers.

Exelon Vice President Joe Dominguez told reporters on a conference call that the new measure is based on New York legislation to preserve nuclear plants because they are not carbon generators.

"There's an expert examination of each facility's costs and then there is a determination of whether the available market revenues are able to cover those costs and risks," said Dominguez

A different bill failed last year partly because Exelon Nuclear as a whole is profitable and lawmakers balked at subsidizing newer reactors.

Dominguez said this measure would offer incentives only for the amount of generating capacity at Clinton and the Quad Cities and only if state regulators determine there would be an operating loss. Dominguez says Exelon would open its books to state regulators to decide on the subsidy.

"And if market revenues are sufficient to cover the operating costs and risks of the plant, the plants will receive nothing," said Dominguez.

The measure includes $140-million in money for solar power and a new rebate to encourage solar installation. Other non carbon power generators would also benefit.
Com Ed said it estimates the measure would increase customer bills an average of 25 cents per month.

Exelon said it consulted with the Clean Jobs Coalition, Citizens Utility Board and other stakeholders in drafting the new bill.

UPDATE: On Friday, Exelon said it would have to move forward with the "early retirements" of its Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants, unless Illinois lawmakers pass "adequate legislation" during the spring legislative session. The company says the Clinton plant would close on June 1, 2017 and the Quad Cities plant would close one year later, unless the legislative wins approval.