CHICAGO – Exelon Corp. (Nasdaq: EXC) hosted U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm on a tour of Exelon’s Braidwood Generating Station in Will County to highlight the economic and environmental benefits of investing in clean energy to address the climate crisis, support and grow good-paying jobs and secure America’s leadership in a clean energy future. The visit comes as federal lawmakers are considering sweeping climate legislation as part of President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which will significantly expand on climate provisions in the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure law.
Braidwood exemplifies the need for Congress to take urgent action to support the nation’s nuclear fleet, which provides over 50 percent of the clean energy in the U.S. and 20 percent of all the electricity consumed. The plant was among four Illinois nuclear stations that faced premature retirement as a result of energy market rules that put carbon-free nuclear energy at a disadvantage to polluting fossil plants. That outcome was narrowly avoided when lawmakers enacted Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, which brought together labor, environmental NGOs, consumer advocates and the business community to preserve the state’s nuclear fleet, invest in new clean energy development, promote equity and put Illinois on course to achieve 100% clean power by 2045.
“Illinois made the right decision to increase its investment in new clean energy and preserve the state’s existing zero-carbon nuclear plants, which provide more than 90 percent of the state’s clean energy and support tens of thousands of jobs,” said Kathleen Barrón, executive vice president of Exelon. “But to meet our national climate goals, we agree with Secretary Granholm that federal leadership is essential to meeting the greatest challenge of our generation. We strongly urge Congress to act on the Build Back Better plan, which will unleash investment in new technology, transform our energy grid and put us on a sustainable path to grow our economy, reduce pollution and address the climate crisis before it is too late.”
“The hardworking men and women at our nation’s nuclear power plants are on the front lines in the fight against the climate crisis, keeping the lights on without any carbon or air pollution and supporting our economy with 24/7 electricity,” Secretary Granholm said after touring the plant. “The Build Back Better bill will help keep our existing nuclear fleet running while we invest in new nuclear technology.”
“The Administration and Congress recognize the importance of carbon-free nuclear generation to meet our country’s aggressive decarbonization goals,” said Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute. “The Braidwood nuclear power station is a perfect backdrop for the Secretary to discuss the Build Back Better Act, which includes important policies, like the production tax credit, that will ensure nuclear remains the backbone of our clean energy future.”
Granholm spoke with Braidwood employees and toured the plant’s main control room, turbine deck and other work areas during her visit. Braidwood entered service in 1988 and produces 2,389 megawatts of carbon-free energy, or enough to power more than 2 million homes in Northern Illinois. Photos and video from the tour can be found HERE