Energy legislation of all sorts is being considered in Springfield.
There’s a bill to promote renewable energy. It promises jobs in Illinois. There’s an effort to promote coal. It promises Illinois jobs. And there’s an effort to save nuclear power plants, thereby preserving 8,000 jobs and $1.8 billion in economic activity, its supporters say.
“These plants support tens of thousands of jobs across the state, and as the president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, practically every meeting that we’re in is about jobs, jobs and jobs, and many of these jobs are highly-skilled, good-paying, full-time jobs. They won’t be easily replaced if some of these plants close,” said Michael T. Carrigan, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO.
The nuclear legislation would give nuclear energy credit for not emitting carbon, a credit the plants’ owner, Exelon, says it needs in order for the facilities to be economically viable. Critics say Exelon sought and got a deregulated electricity market, and made lots of money from these plants over the last 15 years – but with deregulation sometimes come downturns, so live with it.