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State plan would help nuclear plants by punishing carbon-based providers via The Chicago Tribune

linois governmental agencies Wednesday issued a report proposing ways to prop up Exelon’s ailing nuclear power plants, citing the economic and environmental impact that closing those plants could have on the state.

The agencies suggested programs and taxes that would punish electric generators that burn carbon-based fuels and produce carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Exelon’s nuclear plants don’t emit greenhouse gases.

Regardless of whether Exelon’s plants continue to operate or are shuttered, Illinois ratepayers will see higher electricity bills, according to the report.

For instance, if the state legislature decides to tax carbon dioxide emissions to help Exelon, the move would drive up electricity prices 17 to 21 percent over 28 years, the report said.

Exelon has said three of its six plants in the state face possible closing. The impact of closing those plants, according to the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity: 2,500 direct jobs lost, $1.8 billion in lost economic activity to the state and a 10 percent to 16 percent increase in wholesale power prices.

Increased spending on renewable energy, however, could mitigate those costs, according to the report, adding 9,600 jobs by 2019 and producing $120 million in energy savings.

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