Exelon urges legislative action to avoid plant closings

Exelon Corp. on Wednesday stressed the need for legislation to create a Low Carbon Portfolio Standard (LCPS) in Illinois to prevent nuclear power plant closures.

The Chicago Tribune reports that over the previous five years, the company's six power plants have not made a profit and closures could occur if the market situation does not improve. Currently, House Bill 3293 provides an LPCS that promotes the use of low-carbon energy solutions with a 2.015 percent annual price cap. Exelon reports these increases would amount to an additional $2, whereas early closures would increase electricity and energy costs significantly higher.

A state report found that closing nuclear plants would cost the Illinois economy $1.8 billion and could eliminate 8,000 jobs.

“These are highly skilled, good-paying, full-time, permanent jobs,” Terry McGoldrick, vice president and senior assistant business manager of the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electricity Workers. “They won’t be easily replaced soon, if ever, if we allow these nuclear plants to close through inaction. But, as we stand here today, those plants and their jobs are at risk.”

Due to nuclear plant regulation and complexity, a reversal of a closure decision is unlikely. Exelon Executive Vice President of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy Joseph Dominguez said a decision to close a plant would happen prior to the November veto session if the legislature stalls on this issue.