Bill that would save the Bryon nuclear power plant was passed by the Illinois House – The Rock River Times

By Jerry Nowicki
Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House passed an energy regulation and decarbonization bill Thursday, a major step forward in sweeping omnibus bill that eluded lawmakers throughout the legislature and three-year governor’s tenure.

The measure, which aims to make Illinois’ power generation sector 100 percent carbon free by 2050 and 50 percent renewable by 2040, has yet to be approved by the Senate, which was scheduled to hold a session Friday to approve the measure, Senate Act 2408, before a Monday to discuss return.

On Thursday shortly before 9:30 p.m. it passed house 83-33. Governor JB Pritzker quickly issued a press release saying he would sign it.

“This is how the legislation should look,” said House spokesman Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, in the final discussion. “It’s about negotiating in good faith. It’s about standing up for the interests in our districts at home. And it’s about compromises in order to arrive at a product that will benefit the people in your and our districts. “

Environmental groups praised the decarbonization language, which aims to take coal, gas and other CO2-emitting power plants off the grid between 2030 and 2045, depending on the energy source and ownership structure.

Union groups praised the formulation of the bill requiring all major renewable construction projects to have project work contracts in order to hire union workers, while non-residential projects, with few exceptions, would have to pay a predominant wage.

Republicans, meanwhile, warned of job losses in the lower states, significant increases in consumer bills, and potential grid reliability issues as fossil-fuel power plants must be taken offline despite having passed a bipartisan appeal.

Decarbonization, renewable energies

Environmental and trade union associations were in opposition over the issue of municipal coal-fired power plants, which will start on Thursday. Two of the properties in question are Springfields City, Water, Light and Power, and a multi-community Illinois facility in Marissa, Metro East Area, the Prairie State Energy Campus.

The final language calls for plants to be carbon-free by 2045, either by going offline or by installing sequestration technology. Municipal systems must reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2035. If a power plant does not achieve this target by the end of 2035, the power plant has until June 30, 2038 to either shut down some of the CO2-emitting units or to achieve the decarbonization target in another way.

The bill will also provide more than $ 600 million over five years for three Exelon Corporation nuclear power plants – in Byron, Dresden and Braidwood. The company has announced that it will not refuel the Byron plant after Monday and will begin shutdown at that time unless the general assembly has passed laws to ensure its financial sustainability.

All in all, negotiators believe the new bill will increase household utility bills by about 3-4 percent, commercial bills by about 5-6 percent, and industrial bills by about 7-8 percent, despite the introduction for the different programs staggered in time and the increases would vary from year to year.

The installment payer’s money will, among other things, finance equity programs for clean energy workers and new investments in renewable energies.

It would also incentivize the transition from coal-fired power plants to solar or battery storage, and allow downstate utility Ameren to build two utility-scale solar power plants.

In a late amendment to the bill, the Lake County city of Zion, home to a decommissioned nuclear power plant, would be eligible for grants “in proportion to $ 15 per kilogram of spent nuclear fuel stored in such a facility.” according to the bill.

The charge on a customer’s renewable energy bill would increase from about 2 percent to 4 percent over time, an increase of $ 360 million annually to fund projects like wind and solar.

This investment is intended to increase the share of renewable energies in the country’s energy, which is currently between 7 and 8 percent. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, nuclear energy made up about 58 percent of the state’s electricity generation in 2020.

Downstate Republican lawmakers have raised concerns that the portion of the state south of Interstate-80 that is on the MISO power grid is served by only one nuclear power plant. The portion of the state on the PJM network, mostly north of I-80, has the state’s other five nuclear power plants.

“You are not doing what you think you are doing with this bill,” said Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, in a floor debate, warning that the shutdown of the Springfield and Marissa coal-fired power plants would make the Downstate dependent on others. State coal as central Illinois residents become unemployed.

Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, in a news conference following the passage of the bill, stated that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Commerce Commission, and Illinois Power Agency must conduct a five-year study “to determine whether a network is available “. Reliability.”

If there aren’t enough renewables and nuclear power to keep the grid running, coal or gas-fired power plants could stay online to meet peak demand.

“I think it’s very legitimate,” Hoffman said of network reliability concerns. “So we built that into the calculation that there are reliability checkpoints every five years. That was very important to all of us because we want the lights to go on, we want the heating and air conditioning to work. “

Hoffman said officials from the Prairie state believe federal subsidies will be included in infrastructure before Congress, which will also help fund carbon sequestration infrastructure in coal-fired power plants.

Republicans also raised concerns about language, which enabled a private company, Invenergy, to rely on a significant domain in seven counties for a single transmission line, the Grain Belt Express DC transmission line.

Justice, ethics, electric vehicles

The interest rate hike includes US $ 180 million in annual funds for the newly created Energy Transition Relief Fund, which finances various personnel initiatives.

The bill directs the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to create the Clean Jobs Workforce Network program, which will establish 13 hubs in various communities across the state that rely on community-based organizations to provide vocational training and a career pipeline for equal populations.

Other programs include a pre-apprenticeship program to prepare individuals for staffing renewable energy infrastructure; and a contractor incubator to help small businesses move to clean energy.

It is also establishing a “Climate Bank” within the Illinois Finance Authority to help fund renewable projects and a Jobs and Justice Fund run by a nonprofit to ensure that “the benefits of the clean energy industry are shared be distributed “. Another program aims to train people recently released for careers in the renewable energy field.

Legislators also noted that the bill tightened ethics laws for utility companies by ending formulaic pay increases, strengthening economic disclosure requirements to include spouses employed by utility companies, and creating an ethics and compliance monitor for public utility companies to ensure that Utilities comply with existing and new laws.

In addition, the Illinois Commerce Commission must investigate whether ComEd misused taxpayers’ money in connection with an ongoing state investigation into the company’s Springfield influence, and if found, the money must be returned to taxpayers.

The bill also sets a goal of getting 1 million electric vehicles on the streets of Illinois by 2030, with the aim of achieving that through incentives such as:

It also creates a Bill of Rights for Displaced Energy Workers, which requires the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to give advance notice of the closure of power plants or coal mines and to inform workers of available aid programs.

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