The Illinois veto session is beginning today and the next generation energy plan is a hot topic of debate. Failure to pass legislation during this veto session will result in the closure of Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear generating facilities.
The Quad Cities Chamber has been a strong advocate for Exelon, promoting the $1.2 billion impact that these plants put into the state economy, with more than 1,400 well-paying, union jobs and the $21 million in local property tax at risk of being lost. If the plants shut down, 13% of the State's total energy production and one-quarter of clean energy production will be eliminated. The result would be a dramatic increase in energy prices that will harm residential and business consumers. Illinois is currently a national leader in clean and affordable energy production. Additionally this would have a significant impact on our manufacturing industry, as energy makes up 10-30% of manufacturers expenditures.
The Chamber co-signed a letter last week urging Governor Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly to support our economy and pass legislation this fall to ensure access to clean and affordable energy in Illinois by allowing nuclear energy to be competitive with other carbon-free energy.
View the letter sent to legislators below, and be an advocate for our economy by contacting these key decision makers:
|Governor Bruce Rauner|
|House Speaker Mike Madigan|
|House Majority Leader Barbara Currie|
|House Minority Leader Jim Durkin|
|House Energy Chairwoman Linda Chapa LaVia|
|House Energy Co-Chairwoman Michelle Mussman|
Please help us thank these Quad Cities Representatives for their support:
|Quad Cities Rep. Pat Verschoore|
|Quad Cities Rep. Mike Smiddy|
|Quad Cities Senator Neil Anderson|
Dear Honorable Members of the General Assembly:
Exelon announced its plans to close its Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear generating facilities unless the Illinois General Assembly passes legislation that allows it to compete with other clean energy sources. Since then, our communities have focused on communicating the $1.2 billion impact that these plants put into the state economy, such as the more than 1,400 well-paying, union jobs and the $21 million in local property tax which will be lost. These jobs and impact cannot be replaced, and will devastate our communities. As with most legislation, we recognize there are some concerns with this proposal, and want to address the two most significant: corporate subsidy and rate increase.
It has been questioned why an incentive is needed for a profitable company. Though Exelon, as a whole, has been profitable, both the Quad Cities and Clinton plants have lost millions annually for the past several years due to energy markets in Illinois. As a publicly traded company, Exelon has a duty to its shareholders to maximize profitability, which means closing plants that lose money. Both plants are extremely well-run and efficient, and would be profitable if not for energy grid congestion paired with large government subsidies for other clean energy, such as wind and solar.
Government funded incentives should be scrutinized. It’s critical to ensure taxpayer’s dollars are well-used, and we applaud Exelon disclosing its finances as part of the legislation. It is also important to remember that government has a role to play. It is typical to incentivize investments that will enhance our economy and communities. Encouraging carbon-free energy is critical for our economy and for our environment. That’s why wind and solar energy already receive dozens of tax credits and incentives. Despite producing over 90% of Illinois’ clean energy and half of all energy, nuclear is the only clean energy which doesn’t receive any production incentive. While the proposed increase is far less than other incentives, it will be enough to ensure our plants don’t have to operate at a loss. The incentive amount scales based-on energy rates, and there is no incentive should rates rise and become profitable.
It is critical to ensure energy rates are kept competitive for businesses and residents alike. Though this legislation passes on a small-but-controlled rate increase, it is undoubtedly preferable to the large, uncontrolled increase which will occur if both plants shut down, eliminating 13% of the State’s energy production. If this occurs, Illinois will become an importer of energy and rates are estimated to as much as double. The problem will be further exacerbated when Federal EPA low-carbon requirements take effect in a few years. To meet those requirements, an additional five coal plants would have to close to account for the clean energy lost by our nuclear plants closing.
Illinois is a national leader in clean energy production, as well as manufacturing. This is only possible because of our clean and affordable energy. Manufacturers spend 10-30% of their entire cost on energy. A significant and uncontrolled increase would certainly force manufacturers to close or relocate.
We urge you to support our economy and pass legislation this fall that will ensure access to clean and affordable energy in Illinois by allowing nuclear energy to be competitive with other carbon-free energy.
|Tara Barney, President/CEO Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce||Marian Brisard, Executive Director Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce|
|Rory Washburn, President Tri-City Building Trades||Joe Riley, President Decatur Building Trades|
|Ken Maranda, Chairman Rock Island County Board||David Newberg, Chairman DeWitt County Board|
|Brad Cox, Superintendent Erie School District||Curt Nettles, Superintendent Clinton School District|