Pritzker’s energy plan proposes $ 694 million for Exelon nuclear power plants and the closure of the Prairie State coal plant
Governor JB Pritzker proposes to spend $ 694 million to bail out three Exelon nuclear power plants and shut down all coal-fired power plants in Illinois, including Prairie State, by 2035, according to a memo summarizing changes to the energy legislation being debated in Springfield and obtained by the Chicago Sun. -Time.
The grant, which will be distributed over five years, falls within the parameters of an independent report commissioned by Pritzker on nuclear power plants in Byron, Dresden and Braidwood, according to the note. The plan would also keep the company’s nuclear power plant in LaSalle viable and would cost the average residential electricity customer about 80 cents per month.
The proposed amendment to Senate Bill 1534 also sets targets for air quality – phase out coal by 2035 and natural gas by 2045 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. and invest $ 2 million per year in electricity customers to fund Prairie State’s decommissioning costs.
The governor’s new language would create a task force to investigate carbon capture and sequestration, as well as debt financing options, for prairie state and municipalities with plant stakes.
The process of carbon capture, which has been called for by lawmakers where factories are located, traps carbon dioxide emissions created during the combustion of coal or other fossil fuels or during the production of steel or of cement. It compresses emissions and stores them underground, according to National Grid, a multinational electricity and gas company.
The fate of the Prairie State coal-fired power plant, which is owned by the municipal utilities of Winnetka, Naperville, Batavia and dozens of other towns across the state, has been one of the last sticking points during the negotiations over an energy bill in the closing days of the legislature sitting last month.
Some lawmakers have asked Pritzker to keep the factory open. But Pritzker refused to exempt Prairie State from the goal of eliminating coal.
“An exemption for the country’s seventh biggest polluter remains unacceptable to the governor, as well as to the nearly 50 lawmakers who have indicated they will not support a bill that does,” the memo reads. “The governor is ready to sign this bill if the General Assembly decides to pass it next week in Springfield. “
The new wording of the proposed bill also calls on the Illinois Commerce Commission to initiate an investigation into how taxpayer funds were used in a deferred prosecution agreement reached with ComEd in a scandal of corruption involving former House Speaker Michael Madigan.
In the deal, ComEd was accused of sending $ 1.3 million to Madigan associates for doing little to no work as the utility hoped to get Madigan’s support for the legislation in Springfield from a over $ 150 million worth to the utility.
The bill “requires that all funds used in the prosecution” of what is in the deferred prosecution agreement be returned to taxpayers.
Sources said Pritzker was not aware of another energy bill which was also sent out on Thursday. Lawmakers from a task force and other stakeholders will meet on Friday morning to discuss the plans.
Neither house in the General Assembly addressed energy legislation before their adjournment last week. They plan to return to Springfield next week to vote on the energy bill and other laws.