Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed a massive energy bill today that features among its many provisions financial supports for two unprofitable nuclear plants, including one in the city (pictured above).
The Future Energy Jobs Bill, SB 2814, calls for the creation of $235 million in annual ratepayer subsidies to keep Exelon’s Clinton and Quad-Cities nuclear power plants running for 10 years.
The energy bill also expands the state’s energy efficiency program and provides fixes to the state’s renewable portfolio standard sought by environmental advocates. It passed the General Assembly in a shortened veto session last week.
Last-minute changes from the governor’s office to the massive energy bill resulted in the support that the bill needed to make it over the finish line on the last day of the General Assembly’s six-day veto session.
The bill will save the jobs of about 1,500 full-time workers at the two nuclear plants. It also preserves millions of dollars in in property tax revenue for schools and local governments.
Exelon twice previously tried to push legislation to save the nuclear plants, and threatened to shut them down if income supports were not approved. In last minute negotiations, provisions in the bill that would have provided subsidies for coal plants in southern Illinois, introduced residential demand charges and rescinded residential net metering were removed.
Those changes helped win over some environmental organizations, but the bill still came under criticism from some industry groups, such as the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois and the Building Owners and Managers Association, who are concerned about costs to businesses.