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Exelon proposes Low Carbon Portfolio Standard, touts importance of nuclear

Nation's biggest nuclear firm makes a play for green money

Exelon (NYSE: EXC) and Illinois lawmakers filed legislation for a plan that would reduce carbon emissions, increase renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and continue operations of the state’s nuclear power plants.
Under the plan, certain utilities would be required to purchase low-carbon energy credits to match 70 percent of electricity used on the distribution system from qualified sources, including solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, tidal, wave and clean coal. A consumer price cap would limit the impact to a 2.015 percent annual increase compared to 2009 rates, or a $2 a month increase on customers’ electricity bills.
Lawmakers said Exelon would need its nuclear power fleet in order to meet a 30 percent reduction from 2005 levels in carbon emissions by the year 2030.
“This legislation will help ensure Illinois has the low-carbon energy sources it will need to meet its obligations under the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan,” said Rep. Larry Walsh Jr. (D-Joliet). “There is simply no way Illinois will achieve meaningful carbon reductions and meet the EPA goals without preserving our current nuclear fleet.”
The State of Illinois submitted a report on the impact of potential nuclear power plant closings that proposed a Low Carbon Portfolio Standard as a solution. It said some of the impacts of nuclear plants’ closures would total $1.8 billion each year in lost economic activity and nearly 8,000 full-time jobs lost; economic damages from increased carbon emissions of between $2.5 billion to $18.6 billion over 10 years; and a significant spike in electricity prices for Illinois customers up to 10 percent, or $437 million, for ComEd customers in the first year, and $810 million to $1.2 billion for Ameren customers.
Many groups oppose the legislation, including AARP Illinois and the Better Energy Solutions for Tomorrow Coalition, who call the plan a “bailout” for nuclear plants that will only cost ratepayers.
“Exelon made more than $2 billion last year, and here they are begging for a bailout on the backs of working Illinoisans,” said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois state director. “This bill would increase rates for older adults living on fixed incomes, working families and small businesses in order to pad Exelon’s profits.”
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