- A Midcontinent ISO plan to engage stakeholders on market reforms in southern Illinois has nudged Exelon Corp. to delay a decision on whether to continue operating its unprofitable Clinton nuclear facility, Electric Light & Power reports.
- Exelon officials also said deferring a decision will give state policymakers more time to consider policy reforms and legislation related to how Illinois will comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
- The delay means plans Exelon will bid the plant into the MISO's capacity auction for the 2016-2017 planning year, scheduled for late March.
While Exelon officials say they are encouraged by MISO's acknowledgement that market changes are needed, the company stressed that the Clinton facility is still unprofitable and that nuclear generation can help the state meet emissions goals.
“We are encouraged by MISO’s statement and the potential for market reforms that are necessary to ensure long term reliability in southern Illinois,” Chris Crane, Exelon president and CEO, said in a statement. “However, the Clinton plant remains unprofitable and more needs to be done.”
The grid operator on Oct. 27 posted an issues statement noting that capacity market reforms may be required to drive future investment and maintain reliable supply. MISO said it planned to engage with stakeholders to consider those reforms. But there were other factors behind the decision as well, Exelon said, including recent positive results from the Illinois Power Agency’s capacity procurement for 2016 and the expected impact of the Clean Power Plan.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issued a report at the direction of state legislators, finding the loss of two nuclear plants in the state would increase emissions by about 24 million short tons – more than doubling the emissions reductions required under the EPA’s carbon reduction rules.
Exelon made a similar decision in September, Platts reported, related to its Quad Cities and Byron nuclear plants. The company said it would delay a determination to shutter the facilities after both cleared PJM Interconnection's 2017-2018 supplemental capacity auction.