The bill will see Illinois expand clean energy production while protecting jobs and maintaining competitive electricity rates, with caps and protections to limit the impact on consumers and businesses. It also includes zero emissions standards. Illinois has 11 nuclear reactors – all operated by Exelon – which produce nearly half the state’s electricity and 90% of its zero-carbon energy. Three of those units – the single-unit Clinton and two units at Quad Cities – had been under threat of closure for economic reasons. Earlier this year Exelon announced that Clinton would close in June 2017 and Quad Cities one year later, if the state did not pass legislation supporting their continued operation. Exelon and ComEd said the bill “levels the playing field with solar and wind energy” by recognising the zero-carbon energy produced in the state’s nuclear facilities. It also maintained $1.2 billion in economic activity generated by the at-risk plants and prevented the estimated $10 billion increase in costs associated with higher carbon emissions had the plants closed, they said.
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