During a policy session, convened by the Illinois Commerce Commission, Exelon (NYSE: EXC) Senior Vice President of Federal Regulatory Affairs and Wholesale Market Policy, Kathleen Barrón, said the state must preserve its nuclear energy facilities, especially to meet carbon emissions reduction targets. The session was held to discuss the expert perspectives on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan.
“We are pleased that EPA has recognized the important environmental, reliability and economic benefits of existing nuclear power plants and is creating a regulatory incentive that values the many benefits they provide to Illinois and the businesses and families here,” said Barrón. “All zero-carbon resources should be treated similarly and a state like Illinois that has invested in nuclear technology should be recognized for that clean energy investment.”
Barrón added that retiring three nuclear plants would set the state back and risk its ability to meet emissions reduction targets.
“If the units at risk of closing today -- representing 43 percent of the state’s nuclear generation -- retire, they cannot be mothballed and later brought back online,” she said. “Together they represent more than 30 million metric tons of avoided carbon emissions, given that they will need to be replaced with fossil generation to provide the around-the-clock electricity needed to serve customers in the state.”
Currently, Illinois is home to six nuclear power plants that generates 48 percent of the states’ electricity.