One of the two nuclear power generating facilities slated to shut down without state help has taken another step toward decommissioning.
The Quad Cities Nuclear Generating Station has notified the owner of the power grid it supplies energy through that it will be shuttering the plant. The notice is one more step in Exelon's plans to shut down both the Quad Cities plant and the Clinton Nuclear Generating Station in central Illinois.
State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, said keeping the Clinton and Quad Cities power facilities open would save hundreds of jobs.
"This would be an absolutely devastating impact to the local economy in central Illinois,” he said.
Mitchell said the plant closures would increase all Illinoisans' electric bills.
"If you want a non-carbon, clean energy source, nuclear energy has to have a part in that picture," he said.
Many consumer advocates and state Attorney General Lisa Madigan opposed the measure. They said it would put Illinois ratepayers on the hook for the cost of modernizing the facilities.
Dave Lundy, director of Best Energy Solutions for Tomorrow Coalition, said that Exelon is only looking for a bailout.
"They want to put the risks on the ratepayer when the market turns a little south,” Lundy said. “They predict themselves that they may have some lean years that will be followed by better years ahead. If that's the case, I'm sorry. You're a corporation. Suck it up."
Lundy said Exelon's assertions that rates will skyrocket are wrong. He said the company based its claim on a study done that assumes prices in other natural resources would all increase when some, in fact, dropped.
Exelon announced in June that it would begin shutting down the two plants. The Clinton plant is set to close on June 1, 2017, and the Quad Cities plant on June 1, 2018. The company said the plants have lost more than $800 million combined in the last several years.
According to Exelon, the plants have more than 4,000 direct and indirect workers between them. Exelon also pointed to a state report that concludes the plant closures would increase wholesale energy costs for the region by $439 million to $645 million annually.
Nuclear power has struggled to remain profitable with natural gas reaching record low prices.