Exelon Generation and ComEd applauded the introduction in the General Assembly of the Future Energy Jobs Bill – Senate Bill 2814 – noting that this is an important next step in the drive toward passing urgently needed comprehensive energy legislation that will strengthen Illinois’ economy and make Illinois a leader in clean energy.
The legislation reflects a diverse set of interests, as well as agreement in important areas among environmentalists, consumer advocates, community leaders and energy companies who have worked over the last year-and-a-half to bring together multiple previously introduced bills.
While further changes to the legislation are expected in the days ahead, the current bill creates important benefits for Illinois consumers, saving and creating tens of thousands of jobs, doubling energy efficiency programs to create $4 billion in energy savings, accelerating the development of renewable energy and providing over $1 billion in low-income programs – all while preserving competitive rates and preventing cost increases that would come from plant closures.
A core feature of the legislation is the establishment of a Zero Emission Standard (ZES) that will preserve the state’s at-risk nuclear plants, saving 4,200 jobs, retaining $1.2 billion economic activity annually and avoiding increases in energy costs. The ZES protects consumers by requiring a full review of the nuclear plants’ costs by state regulators and ensuring that only those at risk of closing receive benefits. The ZES positions Illinois as one of the first states to fully recognize the environmental benefits of nuclear power, which provides more than 90 percent of Illinois’ zero-carbon energy and is the state’s most reliable energy source.
The legislation is expected to result in a modest 25 cent monthly increase on the average ComEd residential energy bill. The cost of inaction is much higher: with no legislation, nuclear plant closures would add up to $1.85 each month to the average ComEd residential bill.
In addition to establishing the ZES and benefits listed above, the legislation:
· Strengthens and expands the Renewable Portfolio Standard to ensure stable, predictable funding for renewable energy development, providing $180 million per year and growing to $220 million per year
· Provides $500M in funding for low-income solar and job training
· Prioritizes job training for ex-offenders and former foster children, aspiring to achieve
· 2,000 clean jobs for those who struggle most to find employment
· Creates tens of thousands of new clean energy jobs through expanded energy efficiency programs, energy innovation and renewable energy
· Reduces the fixed customer charge for energy delivery by 50 percent, giving customers more control over their bills
Exelon announced in June that it plans to close its Quad Cities Generating Station in Cordova, Ill., on June 1, 2018, and its Clinton Power Station in Clinton, Ill., on June 1, 2017, despite being two of the company’s best-performing plants. Absent legislative action, the company will proceed with closing the plants, resulting in job losses, higher consumer energy costs and increased carbon emissions.
“Our communities cannot afford to lose 4,200 well-paying jobs,” said Dean Apple, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 15. “Closing the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants will have devastating impacts, leading to a loss of economic activity of more than $1.2 billion. This legislation will preserve those jobs, while also spurring new clean energy jobs through the advancement of renewable energy.”
“The Zero Emissions Standard is an innovative approach that will preserve the state’s largest source of clean energy,” said Joe Dominguez, Exelon’s executive vice president, Governmental and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy. “These plants are the backbone of our energy supply, preventing significant carbon emissions and serving as economic engines for the state and the communities in which they operate. It’s critical that we come together now to preserve and grow clean energy at the lowest cost for Illinois consumers.”
“We’ve listened to and worked with key environmentalists, consumer advocates, and community and faith leaders in developing this legislation, with the shared goal of delivering policy solutions that create innovative pathways to a sustainable future,” said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president, government and external affairs, ComEd. “We look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to refine and pass legislation that delivers so many benefits for our consumers, economy and environment.”