Pritzker signs comprehensive energy law

Governor JB Pritzker signed a sweeping law overhauling Illinois’ energy sector on Wednesday, calling the law a “huge step forward” for the state as it works to address the effects of climate change and establish “aggressive” clean energy standards.

“We can’t escape or hide from climate change – we live and livelihoods in the blink of an eye, not north where border waters burn, south where Ida swallows. vortex, devastating floods, micro-explosions that destroyed buildings. . . ” said Pritzker.

“There is no time to waste, but what we can and must do – and thanks to the Climate and Fair Jobs Act – Illinois is struggling to stop and even reverse the damage done to our climate. As of today, Illinois is a force for good, for an environmental future we can be proud of.”

Government JB Pritzker speaks during the Climate and Fair Work Act signing ceremony at the Shedd Aquarium on Wednesday.

Government JB Pritzker speaks during the Climate and Fair Work Act signing ceremony at the Shedd Aquarium on Wednesday.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The Governor was attended by Democratic leaders of the Illinois House and Senate, as well as legislators from both parties who served on the negotiation teams of these rooms at the Shedd Aquarium to sign the bill.

“Today is for our children, today is for our children’s children,” said Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch, and Illinois residents said “win big today.”

Noting that the bill was passed with bipartisan support in both houses, Hillside Democrat said, “This bill puts our state on the path to a clean energy future that Illinois deserves and provides a very clear future for our state.”

State Senate Speaker Don Harmon said it took “two years” to sign the bill. Despite “our ups and downs, our ups and downs, our twists and turns,” the state “will enact policies for reliable, renewable, and affordable energy that put Illinois in a position to lead the nation,” Oak Park Democrat said.

State Senate Speaker Don Harmon (left) joins House Speaker Chris Welch, center and Government JB Pritzker after the governor signed Climate and Fair Affairs at the Shedd Aquarium Wednesday.

State Senate Speaker Don Harmon (left) joins House Speaker Chris Welch, center and Government JB Pritzker after the governor signed Climate and Fair Affairs at the Shedd Aquarium Wednesday.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

State Representative David Welter, R-Morris, and state Senator Sue Rezin, R-Morris, were the only Republicans to speak at the event. Welter, which is home to half the state’s nuclear fleet, said Democrats and Republicans care about a cleaner energy future “although they have a different view of how and when we got there.”

“While it’s not perfect, I feel this design is a compilation of a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of effort to try and get us as close as possible,” Welter said. Said.

State Representative David Welter talks about overcoming political differences to pass the Climate and Fair Jobs Act at the Shedd Aquarium on Wednesday.

State Representative David Welter talks about overcoming political differences to pass the Climate and Fair Jobs Act at the Shedd Aquarium on Wednesday.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm issued a statement praising the signing of the law, saying it showed “what bold action at the state level can do to launch a clean energy future.”

After months of negotiations on an energy bill, The Illinois Senate sent the bill to Pritzker’s desk on Monday 37-17 votes – with three senators present – After the Illinois Assembly voted 83-33 To pass the measure last week.

The legislation puts the government on the path to 100% clean energy by 2050, among other things by providing subsidies to nuclear power plants and setting closure timelines for coal and gas burning plants.

Exelon provides its nuclear power plants with approximately $700 million over five years and requires Prairie State and municipal coal-burning plants such as Springfield’s City Water, Light and Power to reduce their emissions by 45% by 2035 before shutting down 10 years later if they cannot produce it. use green hydrogen or similar technology to achieve zero carbon emissions.

Government JB Pritzker signed the Climate and Fair Jobs Act Wednesday at the Shedd Aquarium.

Government JB Pritzker signed the Climate and Fair Jobs Act Wednesday at the Shedd Aquarium.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The bill included a requirement for Exelon to apply for any available federal aid—there are several pending proposals in Washington that will help Exelon “essentially recover all the dollars provided through nuclear support on behalf of taxpayers.” “The program we adopted today,” said Senator Bill Cunningham of D-Chicago, after the law passed on Monday.

The energy company planned to begin closing procedures for the Byron nuclear plant on Monday; The Dresden nuclear power plant was scheduled to be decommissioned in November.

Steam rises from the cooling towers at Exelon's Byron nuclear power plant in 2011.

Steam rises from the cooling towers at Exelon’s Byron nuclear power plant in 2011.
Robert Ray/AP file

A spokesperson for Exelon Generation, which oversees nuclear power plants, said in a statement that both plants will refuel “as a result of the action taken by the Illinois Legislature to issue a comprehensive energy bill.” The company will also “take action to immediately fill hundreds of vacancies and pursue capital projects necessary for long-term operations” once the bill becomes law.

The expected cost of the bill for taxpayers varies, according to D-Chicago State Representative Marcus Evans, who says residential taxpayers will pay $3 more per month.

Sate Rep Marcus Evan speaks at Wednesday's signing ceremony for the bill.

Sate Rep Marcus Evan speaks at Wednesday’s signing ceremony for the bill.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

State Senator Michael Hastings of D-Tinley Park said on Monday the figure was close to $3.55, but the AARP has published research that claims the figure could be closer to $15.

The bill ends the controversial formula rate system and transitions to a “performance-based” system that will be overseen by the Illinois Trade Commission for utilities that serve more than 500,000 customers.

It also requires the Trade Commission to investigate how fee-paying funds are used in line with ComEd’s actions detailed in a deferred prosecution agreement involving public service. This investigation could result in reimbursement to housing taxpayers.

The bill also requires public services to establish a position of ethics and compliance officer who must submit annual reports to the ICC.

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