The fate of two Exelon (EXC) nuclear power plants in Illinois is up in the air - and it will be up to the state's legislature this week to decide whether or not they will survive.
The Illinois General Assembly will meet today through Thursday in a special session. On the table is SB2814, the "Future Energy Jobs Bill," which proposes to give Exelon plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities large subsidies by purchasing "zero emission credits" from the nuclear facilities.
The zero emission credits essentially reward the nuclear plants for their low carbon outputs. Exelon successfully pursued the ZEC strategy in New York earlier in 2016. The New York State Public Service Commission approved a clean energy standard on Aug. 1 that gives ZECs to Exelon plants in Oswego and Ontario.
Exelon has warned that up to 4,200 jobs will be lost if the Illinois bill fails.
The plants will "definitely" shut down if the bill doesn't go through, Morningstar analyst Travis Miller said in a phone interview. "State support is critical if Exelon is willing to keep the plants running."
The bill failed to pass when it was first introduced in May after lawmakers balked at the potential electric rate hike that residential users would face as a result of the subsidies. The latest version of the bill, introduced on Nov. 15, contained tweaks that further enraged its opponents and drew the ire of environmental groups that had supported the bill in its original form.