CORDOVA -- Exelon officials on Friday announced that the utility may close the Quad Cities Generation Station in 2018.
In its first quarter earnings report, Exelon announced the possible early retirement of both the Quad Cities and Clinton, Ill., nuclear facilities.
In 2015, Exelon deferred retirement decisions on the facilities until this year to participate in the 2016-2017 MISO primary reliability auction and the 2019-2020 PJM capacity auction. Through the auctions, electricity grid managers buy power from producers.
The Quad Cities Generating Station in Cordova currently employs about 800 people and, at full power, its two generating units produce more than 1,800 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 1.5 million typical American homes.
In April, the Clinton, Ill., site cleared the MISO primary reliability auction for the 2016-2017 planning year. The resulting price, however, is insufficient to cover cash operating costs and a risk-adjusted rate of return to shareholders, according to Exelon officials.
The results of the 2019-2020 PJM capacity auction will be available May 24.
On Friday, Exelon President/CEO Christopher M. Crane announced the company's intentions to shut down the Clinton, Ill., nuclear plant on June 1, 2017, and the Quad Cities nuclear plant on June 1, 2018, if Illinois does not pass adequate legislation by May 31 and if the Quad Cities site does not clear the 2019-2020 PJM capacity auction.
A news release from Quad Cities Generating Station communications manager Bill Stoermer Friday afternoon stated that, despite being two of Exelon’s highest-performing generating plants in Illinois, the Clinton and Quad Cities facilities have been experiencing significant losses.
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In the past six years, he said, the two facilities have lost more than $800 million, combined.
While emphasizing that Exelon's announcement should not be viewed as a statement "that any final decision to close Quad Cities Station has been made," he noted a state analysis has concluded Illinois would lose about 4,200 direct and secondary jobs, and nearly $1.2 billion in economic activity, within four years of the plant retirements.
"Exelon recognizes the especially severe impact this will have on the host communities for Clinton and Quad Cities, and will work with community leaders to prepare for this transition," the release stated.
In its Friday profit report, Exelon, said its 2015 delay also was intended to give Illinois lawmakers more time to consider reforms to state laws. Friday's announcement came one day after the company said it now is seeking state lawmakers to sponsor the "Next Generation Energy Plan," a bill it said would address power generation costs while saving and creating jobs.
“Thousands of people across Illinois are gainfully employed at our state’s six nuclear energy facilities, but those jobs are at risk,” said Dean Apple, President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 15.
The proposal is the result of their discussions with representatives of Exelon, ComEd, the Clean Jobs Coalition and other stakeholders, according to an Exelon news release. Part of the proposed bill would required state regulators to review utility plants’ costs and provide compensation only to the sites that demonstrate its revenues are insufficient to cover costs and operating risk.
The bill also seeks $140 million in new funding for solar development, a near doubling of energy efficiency programs in northern Illinois, $140 million in new funding for solar development and a new solar rebate incentive program.
Joe Dominguez, Exelon's executive vice president, Governmental and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy, Exelon, said the proposed legislation would "create a level playing field for all clean energy sources to compete."