Advocates will rally for new state energy policy on Tuesday May 24 in Springfield. For more information go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rally-day-vote-yes-on-ngep-registration-25491912998
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Doug O’Brien 312-363-8447
Illinois Clean Energy Coalition supports Next Generation Energy Plan as a strong step towards a low carbon future
Plan will keep carbon-free nuclear competitive, increase energy efficiency and boost solar development
May 9, 2016—The Illinois Clean Energy Coalition (ICEC) applauds new legislation introduced in the Illinois General Assembly that will strengthen the state’s position as the top producer of carbon-free energy in the United States.
“While the Next Generation Energy Plan has significant economic benefits for Illinois, it is the environmental benefits that represent the most positive elements of the plan,” said ICEC Executive Director Doug O’Brien. “Placing appropriate emphasis on the carbon-free generation of nuclear, growing the solar component and enhancing energy efficiency represents a multi-faceted and balanced approach to our energy future,” he added.
A 2014 study by the ICEC (Link here) showed that the electricity generated by Illinois’ nuclear fleet prevented over 90 million tons of CO2 emissions annually—the equivalent of the CO2 pollution generated by all of the passenger cars in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin, combined. Nuclear, which generates nearly half of Illinois electricity output, represents over 90% of the state’s carbon-free generation, helping rank the state first in total carbon-free electricity generation.
The operator of Illinois’ nuclear power plants has announced it will close at least two of its plants in Illinois if the state fails to appropriately recognize the environmental and economic value of nuclear. The result would be the loss of millions of megawatt hours of carbon-free electricity forcing an increased dependency on fossil fuel generation. The plants at risk of closure are currently licensed to operate for up to 20 more years.
“If just one nuclear plant is shuttered renewables unfortunately cannot fill the gap. The electricity will be replaced by fossil fuel generation and greatly increase our carbon footprint, making it nearly impossible for the state to meet pollution reduction goals,” said O’Brien.
The Next Generation Energy Plan has strong bipartisan support as well as strong support from labor and low-income and community advocacy groups and represents a broad based approach to complex energy issues.
“The debate about energy policy is multi-faceted, but we must always be mindful of the need to make progress towards carbon reduction and sustainability,” O’Brien said. “By its very name, the Next Generation Energy Plan is looking forward to a more environmentally sound future.”
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The Illinois Clean Energy Coalition, launched in 2012, is a group of business leaders, policy experts, local officials and interested citizens who support the common-sense pursuit of a cleaner environment and a reliable, safe and cost-effective energy market. Learn more at www.ilcleanenergy.org
For more information visit www.ilcleanenergy.org
The U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan will set final rules for reducing power plant carbon emissions this summer, and Illinois will need to prepare to comply. If the state were to lose its nuclear energy plants—or any existing low-carbon energy sources—it would make achieving the EPA goal nearly impossible. Read the entire op-ed here.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) and Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) led a bipartisan coalition of the Illinois Congressional Delegation in expressing support for maintaining Illinois’ leadership in nuclear energy. The group of 13 House Members sent a joint letter to Governor Bruce Rauner and leaders of the Illinois Senate and House urging them to consider legislative solutions that would allow Illinois’ nuclear plants to continue to operate.
In response to concerns that three nuclear power plants might shutdown, state Rep. Larry Walsh Jr., D-Elwood, introduced legislation Feb. 26 to save these low-carbon energy sources and protect the jobs of thousands of workers.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Doug O’Brien (312) 363-8447
Low Carbon portfolio legislation will make Illinois the undisputed leader in clean energy production
Proposal would create historic clean energy goals and recognize nuclear, alongside wind and solar as clean energy sources
Springfield, IL—The Illinois Clean Energy Coalition applauded bipartisan legislation introduced today that would set an unprecedented low-carbon energy requirement for Illinois and help ensure reliable, cost-effective supplies.
“This legislation is exactly the type of solution we need,” said ICEC Executive Director Doug O’Brien. “It preserves the state’s position as the national clean energy leader, promotes investment in new low carbon energy, and actually helps the economy grow stronger.”
The proposal sets a 70% low-carbon electricity generation requirement in Illinois which would preserve the benefits of the state’s nuclear power plants while continuing to incentivize development of wind and solar power, giving Illinois the highest clean-energy standard of any state by far.
“It is encouraging that there is broad bipartisan support for low-carbon electricity generation in Illinois,” said O’Brien. “But we have to ensure that proposals won’t exacerbate the state’s financial struggles, and that they are truly practical and result in short-term as well as long-term results.”
Proposals to simply promote an increase in the use of renewable energy would leave the state’s nuclear fleet vulnerable to artificial market impacts and could cause them to close, actually leading to increased pollution due to higher reliance on fossil fuels. And proposals that rely on “investments” in renewables alone ignore the complex challenges to an immediate shift to more renewables, such as capital requirements, permitting requirements and technological constraints.
“Renewables need to be part of our energy future,” said O’Brien. “While we want to continue to push for the development of technologies that will make wind and solar more efficient, it’s important to recognize that nuclear power is the only carbon-free electricity source that provides the consistent, 24/7 generation needed to power Illinois.
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While much of the attention has gone to the advent of enhanced oil and natural gas development, none of this would be possible without a crucial, clean energy source made right here in Illinois: nuclear power.
From the op-ed: “Continuing to let well-functioning nuclear energy plants shut down before it makes sense for them to do so is misguided. Protecting Illinois’ economic and environmental future requires that existing nuclear energy plants stay open. Hopefully, Illinois will continue its tradition of being a bellwether state by not only leading the way in carbon-free energy production, but also by keeping these vital existing nuclear energy plants open for the sake of electricity consumers, cleaner air, and the reliability of the electricity grid.”
From SIU’s emeritus professor of economics Stanford Levin: “…the Illinois EPA estimates that closing the three zero-emission nuclear power plants would increase the costs to society from additional carbon dioxide emissions by billions of dollars in the decade from 2020.”
Read the entire article here.
Not too long ago Carol Browner would have sided with the activists clad in white hazmat suits protesting nuclear power outside the City Club’s lunch Tuesday in downtown Chicago.
Instead, Browner, the former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator and self-professed environmentalist, was inside, a featured speaker touting the benefits of nuclear power.
Read the entire article here.