Illinois House Energy Committee Passes Streamlined Future Energy Jobs Bill

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Source: Smart Grid Observer

November 30, 2016 -- Exelon Generation and ComEd applauded the House Energy Committee's passage of a streamlined version of the Future Energy Jobs Bill that is designed to maintain Illinois' competitive electric rates, preserve and create thousands of jobs and expand clean energy at a cost substantially below 25 cents per month for the average ComEd residential customer. The Committee voted 10 to 1 approve the measure.

In addition to lowering costs, the legislation is seen as jumpstarting renewable energy development, expand aid and job training to low-income residents and support high-paying jobs.

The bill has gained broad support from more than 200 business, labor, environmental and other groups, including the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Retail Merchants Association. It also has support from members of the Clean Jobs Coalition, which includes the Citizens Utility Board, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund and others. In addition, it has the support of a broad coalition of faith-based groups, who highlighted the proposal's cost-savings and jobs benefits to low-income residents at a press conference held Monday.

The revised proposal retains provisions to preserve 4,200 jobs at Exelon's Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants, support cleaner air, create thousands of new clean energy jobs by advancing renewable energy development and providing businesses flexible options for capturing savings through expanded energy efficiency initiatives. It also prevents the loss of $1.2 billion in economic activity generated by the plants and an estimated $10 billion in increased costs associated with higher carbon emissions that would occur if the plants close.

The latest changes come after discussions with stakeholders, including environmental groups, renewable energy developers, faith-based organizations, consumer advocates, business groups, utilities and community leaders, among others.

Since it was first introduced and passed November 16 in a 9 to 1 vote by the Illinois House Energy Committee, changes to the bill include:

  • Eliminating the demand based rates provision
  • Eliminating the Fixed Resource Adequacy Plan, or FRAP
  • Ensuring that the Zero Emissions Standard proposal will preserve Exelon's Illinois nuclear plants for at least 10 years and include stronger consumer protections
  • Revising the scale of the energy efficiency program and giving large industrial energy users the option of managing their own programs to reduce costs
  • Reducing the number of proposed microgrids from five to one
  • Providing $750 million in funding for low-income programs, which will go toward bill payment assistance and programs that increase access to solar energy, energy efficiency and job training

'We have continued to listen to feedback from all parties and have revised the bill to further reduce costs while still preserving and creating jobs and delivering a much-needed boost to Illinois' economy,' said Joe Dominguez, Exelon's executive vice president, Governmental and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy. 'By any objective analysis, the economic benefits of this legislation far outweigh the costs, and will give Illinois a significant advantage in maintaining competitive electric rates and competition for clean energy jobs. Today's committee vote is another important step towards enacting this urgently needed legislation.'

'We have worked with a variety of stakeholders on this latest amendment to the bill and reduced cost and increased value for consumers and the Illinois economy. This bill accomplishes important goals such as preserving thousands of well-paying jobs and creating thousands more, supporting clean energy and providing an economic boost to Illinois,' said Fidel Marquez, senior vice president, government and external affairs, ComEd. 'We applaud the committee's action and look forward to working with all stakeholders to continue making progress.'

For more information, visit futureenergyjobsbill.com.

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