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