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Report: Preserving Illinois Nuclear Plants Would Save Ratepayers $3 Billion Over Next Decade

November 29, 2016 By Cheryl Kaften

Continued operation of the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear generation facilities in Illinois could save ratepayers $3.1 billion over the next decade, according to the findings of a study released on November 28.

The research was conducted by The Brattle Group, a global consultancy; and was sponsored by the Illinois Retails Merchants Association, the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

The study also established that, over the next ten years, commercial and industrial ratepayers would save $249 million annually; and residential customers would save $115 million annually, were the plants to remain open.

All of this started last June, when Exelon Generation – the parent of Chicago area utility provider ComEd – notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of plants to retire the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants, respectively, on June 1, 2017, and on June 1, 2018.

The move was proposed after the Illinois General Assembly adjourned without acting on legislation known as the Next Generation Energy Plan, which Exelon believed would save its nuclear plants.

At that time, the state found that closing the plants would increase wholesale energy costs for the region by $439 million to $645 million annually.

Now, the new report also finds that avoiding shuttering the Quad Cities and Clinton nuclear plants would:

  • Enable the service area to avoid 15 million tons of CO2 emissions annually over the next five years, valued at $657 million per year;
  • Avoid significant amounts of criteria pollutants annually, valued at $109 million per year over the next five years; and
  • Create a broader benefit to the Illinois economy, based on the rationale that, by keeping electricity prices lower, these nuclear plants leave residential, commercial, and industrial consumers with more money to spend on other goods and services, which boosts overall economic activity in Illinois, including jobs, GDP, and tax revenues.

“Today’s report clearly underscores that the Quad Cities and Clinton nuclear plants ensure Illinois’ significant advantage in electric competitiveness,” said Rob Karr, CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA).

“The study conducted by the Brattle Group … outlines the severe cost of inaction if the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants close,” said Michael Reever, VP, Government Relations, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses across the Chicagoland area continue to face a number of challenges and they can least afford the increases documented in this report. We hope Springfield can come together to keep electricity prices reasonable, which remains one of the bright spots for businesses across the state.”

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