SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, more than 1,500 Illinoisans, including community leaders, elected officials, nuclear plant employees and business leaders rallied in Springfield to voice their support for the Next Generation Energy Plan, legislation currently pending before the Illinois General Assembly.
If passed this session, the bill will help drive Illinois' clean energy future while saving and creating thousands of jobs and strengthening the state's economy. By jumpstarting solar energy and preserving two at-risk nuclear plants, the Next Generation Energy Plan will also help Illinois avoid a large increase in carbon emissions and other pollution. Among the many benefits, the legislation will:
- Grow Illinois' supply of solar energy from less than 60 megawatts on the grid now to over 1,650 megawatts by 2030;
- Introduce a Zero Emission Standard that will make Illinois one of the first states to recognize the zero-carbon benefits of nuclear power;
- Enhance the reliability and security of the power grid;
- Reduce the fixed customer charge, creating more equitable rates and giving customers more control over their bills;
- Nearly double energy efficiency programs to create $4 billion in energy savings – the equivalent of taking 18 million cars off the road; and
- Provide $1 billion of funding for low income assistance.
"This comprehensive energy legislation is an all-of-the-above approach, including the preservation of Illinois' at-risk nuclear plants, the Clinton Power Station and the Quad Cities Generation Station," said Bryan Hanson, President and Chief Nuclear Officer for Exelon Nuclear. "The bill's economic and environmental benefits for Illinois far outweigh the costs of inaction, which is why we're urging Illinois policymakers to pass this legislation now – before it's too late."
The NGEP includes implementation of a zero emission standard that would specifically target at-risk nuclear plants, making Illinois one of the first states to recognize the zero-carbon benefits of nuclear energy. It would preserve more than $1.2 billion in economic activity and 4,200 direct and indirect jobs associated with Quad Cities and Clinton.
"Passing the Next Generation Energy Plan before the end of session is critical for Illinois' clean energy future, the state's economy and thousands of Illinois families, which is why there was such a huge turnout today," said State Senator Donne Trotter. "I'm proud to sponsor this legislation to protect and create thousands of new jobs, while preserving Illinois' low-carbon energy leadership and strengthening the reliability of our power grid. The Next Generation Energy Plan is truly a win-win approach."
Community and labor leaders from across Illinois were in attendance and echoed those sentiments.
"The overwhelming show of support we see today from the labor community, business leaders, environmentalists, elected officials and everyday families illustrates just a fraction of the Illinoisans that want to see this legislation passed by May 31st," said Michael Carrigan, President of the Illinois AFL-CIO, who addressed the crowd in the state capitol building.
"The livelihood of working families and the future of Illinois' economy and environment are at stake," added Dean Apple, President of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 15. "Without action on the Next Generation Energy Plan, Illinois risks falling behind and losing jobs to other states. The state cannot afford to wait."
"We simply cannot afford to see Illinois' nuclear plants close," said Tara Barney, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce President. "They support thousands of good-paying jobs for highly-skilled workers in our community and generate millions of dollars in annual tax revenue. The impact on our local and state economy would be devastating and would set Illinois back as a leader in clean energy production. We cannot afford a further delay on this legislation."
The legislation is estimated to have a modest impact of 25 cents per month on the average ComEd residential customer bill over the duration of the plan, while providing for the economic, environmental and societal impacts detailed above.
For more information, visit www.NextGenerationEnergyPlan.com.
Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), now including the Pepco Holdings utilities, is the nation's leading competitive energy provider, with 2015 revenues of approximately $34.5 billion. Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Exelon is one of the largest competitive U.S. power generators, with more than 32,700 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation's cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets. The company's Constellation business unit provides energy products and services to approximately 2 million residential, public sector and business customers, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100. Exelon's six utilities deliver electricity and natural gas to approximately 10 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania through its Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco subsidiaries. Follow Exelon on Twitter @Exelon.
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SOURCE Exelon Generation