Legislation that will prevent the closure of nuclear power plants in Cordova and Clinton is a win for energy consumers and businesses across the state, in addition to energy jobs and the state’s energy future according to State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru). The Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 2814 Dec. 1, following the House’s approval. Gov. Rauner is expected to sign the legislation.
In June, Exelon said they would close their Clinton plant in June of 2017 and their Cordova plant in June of 2018, unless the legislature acted on energy reforms.
The legislation will keep the nuclear power plants in Cordova and Clinton in operation – saving thousands of jobs and communities from economic devastation. Rezin says the legislation will also strengthen the state’s commitment to clean, reliable, and cheap power and limit electric rate increases to residential and business customers across the state by capping rates.
“This is not just a Cordova and Clinton issue,” Rezin said. “This is an issue that impacts everyone across the state. With half the electricity produced in Illinois coming from nuclear power, taking two nuclear plants offline would result in electric bills climbing higher and higher for decades. This legislation protects residential consumers and changes that were made to the legislation in the last few days alleviated my previous concerns for high energy users.”
Rezin points to a recent study released by economists at The Brattle Group, a global consulting firm. The group found residential customers would see their electric bills increase $115 million annually, while businesses would see their bills increase $249 million annually if both nuclear plants closed - an increase of $3.1 billion over the next 10 years.
As further evidence, Rezin points to a Midcontinent Independent Survey Operator (MISO) survey that found “a potential generational shortfall as soon as mid-2018” if the two plants closed. At a hearing earlier this year, MISO staff said that new power lines would have to be considered to be built over several years at serious costs to ratepayers to rebalance the lost supply if the plants closed.
“More power lines is not something my district would have had the appetite for,” Rezin said. “Those in Cordova and Clinton can breathe a major sigh of relief, as these jobs, the economic impact they produce, and tax dollars that are generated from these plants will continue. The state’s energy portfolio will now not only remain strong, but can grow, a good thing for the state’s economy, jobs, and communities across the state.
“I’m relieved working families and large energy users won’t see steep increases,” Rezin continued. “I am also relieved that one of the biggest incentives the state has right now to create jobs here – the low cost of power – will continue.”
Rezin is a leading voice on energy issues in Illinois. Her 38th Senate District has three nuclear plants. She is also the Republican Spokesperson for the Energy Committee at the Illinois Statehouse.
“I will do everything I can to ensure the three nuclear plants in the 38th Senate District - Morris, Marseilles, and Braidwood - stay in operation for decades to come,” Rezin said. “Future generations will depend on our energy producers for jobs, a strong tax base, and to be able to turn on the lights and keep the fridge running. It is critical we do everything we can to protect these jobs and give our energy producers the opportunity to thrive.”
The Cordova Power Plant provides 4,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Quad Cities area and has an annual payroll of $75 million. It also provides an economic impact of $1.7 billion.
The Clinton Power Plant provides 2,000 direct and indirect jobs in and around DeWitt County and has an annual payroll of $63 million. It also provides seven million dollars in economic impact for Clinton and the surrounding area and provides property tax revenue of nearly $12 million, of which $7.6 million goes to the Clinton School District, two million dollars to DeWitt County, and one million dollars to Richland Community College.
In total, Illinois’ nuclear facilities contribute nearly $9 billion to the state’s economy annually according to Exelon.