Illinois Governor Signs Act to Permanently Shut Down Coal-Fired Power Plants (1)

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a comprehensive climate bill on Wednesday that will make it the first state in the Midwest to shut down all coal-fired power plants in the state by 2045 while creating a transformed, nationwide renewable energy infrastructure.

The Act (SB 2408) becomes Exelon Corp. To provide nearly $ 700 million in subsidies in the form of emission reduction credits over five years to keep two of its Illinois nuclear power plants operational, while NRG Energy Inc., Vistra Corp are eligible for more over a 20 year period than $ 500 million to convert their coal-fired power plants to solar.

“Together we are making history today and taking a big step forward to mitigate the effects of climate change and to establish the most aggressive standards for clean energy in the Midwest,” said Pritzker (D) at a signing ceremony on Wednesday. He said the 958-page bill was “one of the most comprehensive and important pieces of legislation we may have seen in decades, perhaps ever.”

The bill also funds multi-year, multi-billion dollar construction of power plants powered by renewable sources such as wind and solar power, which groups of workers estimate will create more than 50,000 construction jobs.

The law is largely funded by fees that will shortly appear on tariff payers’ electricity bills. The Citizens Utility Board consumer advocacy group estimates the average consumer will pay an additional $ 3.51 each month to pay for the bill.

AARP Illinois spokeswoman Vikki Ortiz said her group estimates the amount will increase over time and negatively impact older Illinois residents living on steady incomes.

Other provisions

The law includes social justice provisions to encourage black and Hispanic workers to seek employment in the state’s growing green economy, as well as retraining and education programs for workers displaced by the shutdown of coal-fired power plants.

Utilities operating in the state must comply with new ethical standards under the new law. It also creates a new way of calculating billing billing that increases transparency while making utilities more accountable for the way they bill customers.

In addition, there will be a program that aims to bring 1 million electric vehicles to the streets of Illinois by 2030, in part through a $ 4,000 discount on electric car purchases and by providing more than $ 75 million. Dollars annually for several years to build charging stations around the state.

“Maintaining our existing fleet of nuclear reactors, introducing clean and renewable energy and promoting sales of electric vehicles are all key components of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda and are essential to achieving our country’s climate goals,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement released on Wednesday.

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Pritzker and lawmakers, Illinois will keep a number of nuclear power plants online and save thousands of well-paying jobs – while showing what bold federal action can do to usher in the future of clean energy,” said Granholm.

The most important sticking point in the negotiations between key stakeholders was the timing for the coal-fired power plant phase out. In the end, the negotiators agreed to close all coal-fired power plants owned by investors by 2030 and all coal-fired power plants owned by local authorities by 2045. According to the law, all gas-fired power plants must be closed by 2045.

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