Illinois Legislature should pass Next Generation Energy Plan to Save Clinton and Quad Cities Nuclear Plants

Loss of Major Sources of Reliable, Carbon-Free Electricity Would Hamstring Efforts to Reduce Emissions, Negatively Impact Local Communities

CHICAGO, Illinois (May 6, 2016) - Nuclear Matters co-chair, former Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), issued the following statement on the potential closure of the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants in Illinois, owned by Exelon Corporation. Exelon announced that the closures would occur in the absence of passage of adequate legislation in the current spring legislative session and Quad Cities clearing in the 2019-2020 PJM capacity auction:

“Today’s announcement around the potential premature retirement of the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants is unfortunate, but understandable given the economic challenges confronting these plants and the many warnings that absent a policy solution they might be retired. The good news is that by passing the Next Generation Energy Plan, which would properly value these plants for the carbon-free energy they produce, the Illinois legislature has an opportunity to save these plants. The legislature should move to pass this bill as quickly as possible in order to save these sources of reliable, carbon-free energy that also provide significant economic and job benefits to the state.

These closures would be felt acutely by the state, and would jeopardize its standing as a clean energy leader given that Illinois’ nuclear plants provide 92 percent of the state’s carbon-free electricity. Illinois faces a significant carbon reduction goal as part of the Clean Power Plan. The premature retirement of Clinton and Quad Cities would mean that these goals will be nearly impossible to meet.

Further, these plants inject thousands of jobs into the the regions that they serve and provide billions of dollars of economic stimulus to the state.

Today’s announcement should foster a renewed sense of urgency among policymakers in the state to preserve the Clinton and Quad Cities plants. Nuclear is safe, reliable, and carbon-free. By passing the Next Generation Energy Plan as soon as possible, the Illinois legislature can save these plants and cement its position as a clean energy leader at the same time."