SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Exelon Generation and ComEd announced today the pending filing in Springfield of the Next Generation Energy Plan, a bill with strong bipartisan, labor, and community support that would drive Illinois' clean energy future while saving and creating jobs and strengthening the state's economy.
The bill grew out of discussions between Exelon Generation, ComEd, the Clean Jobs Coalition, and other stakeholders in the year since all three entities supported separate energy legislation in Springfield in early 2015. The bill introduced today contains significant parts of all three original bills, as well as new elements reflecting concerns and objectives expressed by these stakeholders and others that emerged in the course of more than eight months of ongoing discussions.
One key new element in the Next Generation Energy Plan is the shift to a Zero Emission Standard – a targeted and innovative solution that is focused specifically on at-risk nuclear plants. The Zero Emission Standard addresses stakeholder concerns by requiring full review of plants' costs by state regulators and by ensuring that only those plants that can demonstrate that revenues are insufficient to cover their costs and operating risk will be entitled to receive compensation. Other key new elements include a near doubling of energy efficiency programs in northern Illinois, $140 million in new funding for solar development, and a new solar rebate to incent solar generation in a smarter way than current policies.
While not all issues have been resolved in the course of discussions, these new provisions reflect the clear response of Exelon Generation and ComEd leaders to the concerns and desires of environmental stakeholders and consumer advocates, resulting in a strong package of benefits for Illinois consumers to be considered by the General Assembly this spring.
The Next Generation Energy Plan includes provisions that:
- Nearly double energy efficiency programs, creating $4.1 billion in energy savings, or the equivalent of taking 18 million cars off the road
- Commit $1 billion of funding for low-income assistance, mostly through energy efficiency
- Jumpstart solar energy in Illinois with rebates and more than $140 million per year in new funding for solar development
- Strengthen and expand the Renewable Portfolio Standards to provide stable, predictable funding for renewable development
- Introduce a Zero Emission Standard that will make Illinois one of the first states to recognize the zero-carbon benefits of nuclear power. By keeping the state's at-risk, zero-carbon nuclear facilities operating, the Zero Emission Standard creates economic and environmental benefits outweighing its costs by a factor of 8 to 1. The Zero Emission Standard:
- Saves 4,200 jobs in Illinois
- Prevents large increases in electric rates
- Preserves over $1.2 billion in economic activity annually
- Prevents a dramatic increase in carbon emissions
- Reduce the fixed customer charge for energy delivery by 50% and create more equitable rates, giving customers more control over their bills
- Create thousands of new clean energy jobs through energy efficiency programs, energy innovation, and renewable energy
- Enhance the reliability and security of the power grid
"In a time when social services are at risk, helping Illinois residents with their energy bills is more important than ever," said Reverend Walter Turner, Pastor, New Spiritual Light Missionary Baptist Church. "I support this legislation because of its $1B in programs for low-income communities and provisions to jumpstart solar and green jobs in a smart, sustainable way in our state.
"Thousands of people across Illinois are gainfully employed at our state's six nuclear energy facilities, but those jobs are at risk," said Dean Apple, President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 15. "While also providing for new clean jobs through energy efficiency and new funding for solar, this legislation would rescue our struggling nuclear plants from being shut down and protect the jobs and other economic benefits that they generate for Illinois, including the large role they have played in Illinois holding the national record for the lowest percentage increase in electricity rates since 1997."
"We are excited to see progress on much needed legislation resulting from months of discussion between many stakeholders who are committed to implementing policy that will lead to significant development of solar power in Illinois," said Brent Anderson, Wanxiang New Energy, a solar company in Rockford. "We believe the legislation contains several innovative solutions and we applaud the intent to move forward on the development of a more robust renewable portfolio standard in Illinois."
"I don't want Illinois electricity prices to go up and I want to see Illinois build upon our clean energy leadership. I'm backing the Next Generation Energy Plan because it will provide opportunities for consumers to save on their energy bills, protect and create good-paying jobs, and boost our economy," said Senator Donne Trotter. "It also will deliver a cleaner, greener and more secure energy future for Illinois while providing significant funding for struggling families and ensuring the continued operation of our nuclear fleet."
"An exciting new part of this bill is an innovative Zero Emission Standard that will create a level playing field for all clean energy sources to compete. This bill directly addresses two concerns about the previously introduced low carbon portfolio standard, namely that the LCPS was not targeted at the challenged plants and that there was not sufficient transparency around plants' costs. The program introduced in today's bill only compensates financially challenged plants after a full and complete review of costs by the experts at the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Illinois Power Agency," said Joe Dominguez, executive vice president, Governmental and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy, Exelon. "The Zero Emission Standard will preserve Illinois' at-risk nuclear energy facilities, which serve as economic engines for the state and communities in which they operate, maintain the reliability of the grid, and avoid substantial amounts of carbon emissions."
"We've listened and responded to key environmental and consumer advocates to develop comprehensive legislation that incorporates policy solutions that will benefit all of our customers, while creating innovative pathways to a sustainable future," said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president, government and external affairs, ComEd. "This plan delivers significant energy efficiency, a major expansion of solar power, a more secure grid, and important programs for our most vulnerable customers and communities."
"The livelihoods, the social programs, and the overall well-being of my community and many other communities, where nuclear power plants have been a good neighbor, are secured for the future by this legislation and its Zero Emission Standard," said Clinton Administrator Tim Followell. "Our families and our way of life will be devastated if the Illinois General Assembly fails to act and act now on this important legislation."
The group today said it would work with the General Assembly to file a bill that could be passed before the end of this spring session, to generate immediate benefits for Illinois families and preserve clean energy jobs. The group estimates the legislation would have a modest impact of 25 cents per month on the average ComEd residential customer bill, while providing for the economic, environmental, and societal impacts detailed above.
For more information, visit www.comed.com/energyplan or www.nuclearpowersillinois.com.