Resolution prelude to “bailout” for unprofitable nukes, national anti-renewables campaign
CHICAGO— By voice vote the Illinois House approved a resolution introduced by House Speaker Michael Madigan with extensive cooperation from Exelon Corporation that would create massive subsidization of unprofitable Exelon nuclear plants in Illinois, and do serious damage to the growth of the renewable energy sector.
HR1146, the Nuclear Power Plant Closure resolution was introduced by Speaker Madigan only last Friday, May 23rd, largely at the behest of Exelon Corporation. It sets in motion policy and governmental mechanisms that would essentially “nuke” renewable energy in Illinois, and guarantee that nuclear and coal would be the mainstay of Illinois electricity production for the foreseeable future.
“This Resolution takes energy in Illinois backwards at least 15 years,” says David Kraft, Director of the Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service, a nuclear watchdog and renewable energy advocacy organization. “If its clauses ever become legislated, they would literally mandate the use of nuclear energy in Illinois, all the while Speaker Madigan conspires with Exelon to not fix the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard law. He might as well have titled it, ‘Forward – Into the Past!” says Kraft.
Last week in the Legislature, Madigan and Exelon conspired on an agreement to kill the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) fix, in exchange for Exelon keeping running for the next year five nuclear reactors it said were unprofitable, and was threatening to close. This week Exelon and Madigan are attempting to unleash every aspect of State government to support the continuation of running nuclear reactors, potentially awarding them “clean energy credits” like solar and wind would get, and use the upcoming EPA air standard requirements as a way to use nukes to offset the pollution from coal plants, many of which otherwise face shutdown, allowing them to continue operating.
“This Resolution is not just a pro-nuclear resolution. It is an overt effort to destroy renewable energy statewide, a way to keep dirty coal plants running, and a way to continue and make permanent the outdated system of ‘centralized baseload power,’ in spite of the fact that the Legislature already granted ComEd 10 years of rate increases to finish a “smart grid” which was supposed to begin to replace the outdated baseload utility model, and be more renewables friendly,” Kraft maintains.
Wanting to insure that his Resolution appeared to have no opposition, Speaker Madigan took a particularly paranoid approach to getting it out of the House Environment Committee unanimously. He used an arcane Speaker privilege to temporarily dismiss six Committee members likely to vote against the Resolution – Reps. Sente, Gabel, Harris, Jakobsson, Nekritz, and Halbrook – and replaced them with six Reps who voted in favor of HR1146.