Exelon plans to shut down its Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear power plants after Illinois lawmakers opted against passing energy legislation that the company claimed was vital to keeping the facilities open.
Exelon says the two plants are struggling financially and have collectively lost $800 million over the past seven years, even though they are among the company’s best-performing facilities.
The Clinton plant will shutter on June 1, 2017, while the Cordova-based Quad Cities plant will close on June 1, 2018, according to a Thursday announcement.
“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,” Exelon President and CEO Chris Crane said in a statement.
The Clinton and Quad Cities plants employ about 700 and 800 people, respectively.
“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,” Crane said. “Unfortunately, legislation was not passed, and now we are forced to retire the plants.”
Exelon was hoping the Illinois General Assembly would pass the proposed “Next Generation Energy Plan” by May 31. Exelon’s proposal, supported by ComEd, called for, among other things, the creation of a Zero Emission Standard geared toward compensating struggling nuclear plants.
The plan was not called for a vote before the end of the regular session, though it could come up at a later date. Exelon says it will continue to work with stakeholders to pass the legislation.
But, because “the path forward for consideration” of the plan is unclear, Exelon says it has started taking the necessary steps to close the two plants.
“Exelon has and will continue to brief the governor’s office, legislative leaders, the Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Power Agency, other relevant state agencies, and host community leaders, on developments as it executes the shutdown plan,” the company said.