Exelon Corp. announced today that it is moving forward with shutting down both the dual-unit Quad Cities and single-unit Clinton nuclear power plants in Illinois.
The Clinton Power Station is set to close on June 1, 2017 and the Quad Cities Generating Station will plan to close on June 1, 2018, according to a statement from the company. Exelon said the two power plants have lost a combined $800 million in the past seven years despite being two of the company’s best-performing facilities. Exelon had hoped state lawmakers would pass the Next Generation Energy Plan by the end of May, but the bill’s sponsor shelved it. The utility also said Quad Cities needed to clear the PJM’s 2019-2020 capacity auction to keep operating, but it did not.
Exelon’s plan would have raised electric rates statewide — it said it would cost the typical residential user about 25 cents a month.
The closures will impact roughly 1,500 workers; 700 employed at the Clinton plant and 800 at the Quad Cities plant. “This is an extremely difficult day for the 1,500 employees who operate these plants safely and reliably every day, and the communities that depend on them for support,” said Chris Crane, Exelon president and CEO. “We have worked for several years to find a sustainable path forward in consultation with federal regulators, market operators, state policymakers, plant community leaders, labor and business leaders, as well as environmental groups and other stakeholders. Unfortunately, legislation was not passed, and now we are forced to retire the plants.”
Exelon’s next step is to make permanent shutdown notifications to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission within 30 days, terminate capital investment projects required for long-term operation of the plants, and cancel fuel purchases and outage planning among other steps before shutting down the plants.
Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said closing the plant “is a decision that has far-reaching consequences over the next several decades. Losing the jobs in our area is bad enough, but industry analysts have told me that should Clinton close, the market price for power would drastically increase” from this year’s price of $72 per megawatt hour to as much as $225 per megawatt hour.
“Such rate increases will be disastrous to downstate Illinois by punishing working families and small businesses,” said Rose. “As the Legislature goes into overtime session yet again it is time for the Senate Democrat majorities to quickly finalize negotiations and send this bill over to the House and demonstrate some measure of ‘progress’ to Exelon.”