12/2/16 – Illinois passes sweeping energy bill with support for Exelon nuclear plants

Utility Dive

By Peter Maloney
Dec. 2, 2016

Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly late on Thursday voted in favor of a massive energy bill that includes financial supports for two Exelon nuclear plants at risk of closing.

  • The legislation, which has been called one of the most comprehensive state energy bills ever crafted, heads to the governor’s office where it will likely be signed into law.
  • The final version of the bill included last minute changes sought by the governor, such as dropping prevailing wage language from a job creation provision.
  • In addition to providing payments to the nuclear plants for 10 years, the bill also expands the state’s energy efficiency programs and makes changes to the state’s renewable portfolio standard sought by renewable advocates.

The odyssey of what eventually became the Future Energy Jobs Bill, SB 2814, started about two years ago and has had many twists and turns.

The version just passed by the House and Senate was introduced into the General Assembly’s shortened veto session in mid-November. The 440-plus page bill went through about 30 rounds of changes before being approved late on the last day of the session…

In the House, the legislation required 60 votes and passed 63-38. In the Senate, the vote was 32-18 in favor. Both votes included members of both parties, though more Democrats supported the legislation…

Among the last minute changes to the bill was the elimination of fixed resource adequacy plan (FRAP) that would have provided capacity payments for coal plants in the south of the state, as well as deletion of provisions for residential demand charges and the elimination of retail rate net metering…

The last minute changes were crucial to gaining the support of environmental advocates such as the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund.

“We are encouraged to see SB 2814 pass without anti-consumer, anti-solar proposals like mandatory demand charges, and ending net metering,” Amy Heart, director of public policy for Sunrun and spokesperson for The Alliance for Solar Choice, said in a statement.

Read the full article at Utility Dive.