The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce last week joined Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, State Senator Neil Anderson, and IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson, in Chicago to urge Illinois legislators to pass legislation that supports nuclear energy in the State and avoid shutting down the Quad Cities and Clinton nuclear energy plants. The Nuclear Energy: What it means in Illinois forum was hosted by the University of Illinois and the AFL-CIO and featured over fifteen speakers discussing nuclear energy’s importance to our economy and environment. State Representative Pat Verschoore and leaders from the Tri-City Building Trades were also present at the hearing. 

Earlier this year, Exelon announced plans to close the Clinton plant in 2017 and Quad Cities plant in 2018 unless legislation is passed to level the playing field for energy rates. Nuclear energy is the only clean energy which doesn’t receive any incentives or tax credits. This, combined with deficiencies to the energy grid’s operation, has forced Exelon to operate and sell energy at a loss over 13% of the time.

While speaking to the impact on the Quad Cities and State of Illinois, the Chamber also noted the negative impact that dramatically increased energy costs would have on manufacturers, which can spend between 12% and 30% of their total cost on energy. Currently, Illinois and Iowa produce some of the cleanest and most affordable energy in the country, and is a major component to the success and marketing of manufacturing in our region. However, manufacturing already faces many challenges competing in a global economy, and large increases in energy costs would have serious negative repercussions. Together, both plants produce 12% of the State’s total energy. All nuclear energy accounts for 48% in Illinois.

It is vital the State pass legislation this November in the six-day veto session, which is rumored to be cut-down to four days.  Tell your legislators to pass the Next Generation Energy Plan this fall, and ensure Illinois remains a leader in clean and reliable energy production.

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