Low carbon standard passes Ill. Senate committee

 Low carbon standard passes Ill. Senate committee

An Illinois Senate committee passed a bill that would establish a low carbon standard that would help the state’s nuclear power plants.
The Illinois Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee passed Senate Bill 1585, which establishes a Low Carbon Portfolio Standard. The standard would require utilities ComEd and Ameren (NYSE: AEE) to buy low carbon energy credits to match 70 percent of the electricity used on the power grid. It would allow all low carbon generating sources to compete equally, including wind, solar, hydro, clean coal and nuclear.
Four state agencies proposed the rule in a report in January stating the impacts of closing down three of the states’ six nuclear power plants. The six plants generate nearly half of Illinois’ electricity and 90 percent of its carbon free power. Shutting down three of them – Clinton, Quad Cities and Byron – could result in an annual loss of $1.8 billion, 8,000 lost jobs, and cost as much as $500 million in increased energy costs statewide, the report said.
The proposal also has protections for consumers, including a consumer price cap that would limit the impact to a 2.015 percent increase, or about $2 a month more on the average customers’ electricity bill.
Critics have called the standard a “bailout” for Exelon (NYSE: EXC), saying the company is making a profit and does not need the help.
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