CHICAGO - Exelon today issued the following statement on the State of Illinois report on potential nuclear power plant closings prepared in response to House Resolution 1146:
We thank the state for its attention and work on such an important issue for Illinois and the future of the state's energy assets. The report confirms that the state's six nuclear power plants provide substantial economic and environmental benefits to Illinois residents and businesses. It also highlights the negative impacts closing one or more of the state's nuclear facilities prematurely would have on Illinois' economy, energy prices and carbon emissions, and concerns it would raise about the reliability of the electric grid. The report makes clear that the future of Illinois' nuclear power plants should be an issue of statewide concern.
The report says: "The state of Illinois is ranked 5th in electricity generation and 9th in electricity consumption within the US. Illinois operates as a net exporter of electricity in the Midwest region. The fact that Illinois is a net exporter of energy is significant and acts as key assetâ€¦ If Illinois is to continue as net exporter of energy under the U.S. Environmental Agency's (EPA) proposed carbon dioxide reduction rule that will take effect in June 2015, Illinois will have to act to maintain existing clean energy assets as well as develop new clean energy assets." (pages 125-126)
The report finds that closing the three Illinois nuclear plants at greatest risk of early retirement would have a significant negative economic impact on the state, including $1.8 billion in annual lost economic activity and more than 7,800 job losses, and that the resulting increase in carbon emissions would have a societal cost of more than $18 billion. It also concludes that the closures would increase wholesale electricity costs in the northern Illinois region served by ComEd by up to 9.9 percent, or $437 million, in the first year.
The report says: "Nuclear power assets are integral parts of their host communities and provide real economic benefits. Expenditures with local suppliers, direct and indirect jobs, tax revenues, and other contributions to local economies make nuclear generating stations some of the most valued economic assets in Illinois." (page 129)
We continue to believe that the best, most cost-effective approach for preserving the benefits these plants provide is a market-based solution that properly values the emissions-free, always-on energy they generate. The report presents several potential policy solutions and is a good starting point for discussions with lawmakers and other stakeholders about the right path forward for continuing to meet Illinois' energy needs.
The report states: "Illinois' continued economic success depends on maintaining low and stable electricity prices - and those low and stable prices depend on the continued operation of all nuclear generating stations located in Illinois. Eventually, market forces and national policies will fully compensate nuclear plant operators for their reliability and carbon-free emissions. Until that time, Illinois has the opportunity to craft effective market-based solutions that can support all forms of low carbon power generation to be sited in Illinois for the benefit of Illinois' economy and citizens." (page 125)