Lawmakers Pull Plug on Bill to Help Illinois Nuclear Plants

A bill that was going to give a financial boost to the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants in Illinois will not be heard in the state Legislature’s spring session.

The bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), said time ran out and pulled the plug on the bill, according to several news reports. Exelon (NYSE: EXC), which owns seven nuclear plants in the state, including Quad Cities and Clinton, said the Next Generation Energy Plan needed to pass before the end of the spring session in order to keep the plants operating beyond June 2017 for Clinton and June 2018 for Quad Cities. Exelon also said Quad Cities also needed to clear PJM’s capacity auction for the 2019-2020 planning year, which it did not do. Exelon said both Quad Cities and Clinton have lost a combined $800 million in the past seven years.

Critics have called the bill a bailout for a profitable company. The NGEP calls for a shift to a Zero Emission Standard focused specifically on at-risk nuclear plants, and would also call for $140 million in new funding for solar development and a new solar rebate.

Exelon has not said it made a decision on what it will do with the power plants.