On the surface, it sounds like good news. Crain’s Chicago Business reported today:
Company executives and lobbyists have told lawmakers and other interested parties that three of the six nukes Exelon operates (Byron, Clinton and Quad Cities) are at risk of shutting down because they’re unprofitable or struggling to make money.
Okay, shut them down. Sounds like a good business plan based on free market principles. Unless Exelon plans to ask the people of Illinois to pay them to sell overpriced electricity.
According to Crain’s:
Exelon lobbyists have floated the idea of creating a state “clean energy” standard or credit that would recognize the nukes for their clean-air benefits and their dependability as a 24/7 power source, according to people who have been briefed. That designation would entitle the plants to extra payments in some form — presumably from ratepayers.
Not that the company is going to ask outright for contracts to purchase electricity at more than competing sources:
(Exelon CEO Chris) Crane apparently has ruled out asking for long-term power purchase agreements with the state that would ensure the nukes were profitable that also would severely undermine Exelon’s longterm commitment to letting markets work.
How longterm is Exelon’s commitment to letting markets work? Apparently, it wasn’t a problem when they asked for and got a deal from the state of New York. As Crain’s reported:
Illinois isn’t the only state where Exelon has financially struggling plants. It is a majority owner of a small plant on the shores of Lake Ontario in New York that has an above-market contract with the state….