Energy bill negotiations head to House after talks once again derailed


Rep. Chapin Rose concerned about possible reliance on out-of-state fossil -produced power

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate approved an energy bill in the early hours of Sept. 1, but it’s likely to change as negotiations continue in the House, which has not set a date as to when it will return.

A lead negotiator in the House said time is of the essence with key deadlines arriving for renewable energy investments and the potential closure of two nuclear power plants.

“So we are very confident that we’re going to get this done.” Rep. Marcus Evans Jr., a Chicago Democrat who is in the House energy working group, said in a phone call Wednesday. “So we’ll be back hopefully in a few days.”

The measure being considered, contained in amendments to Senate Bill 18, was filed Tuesday evening shortly before midnight after another measure contained in House Bill 3666 failed to gain the support of environmental groups, the governor and the House speaker during negotiations earlier in the day.

Decarbonization timelines for municipal coal-fired power plants continued to hold up the bill’s passage, so the new bill was filed with the same language so that conversations could continue in the House.

Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Frankfort, sponsored both bills, hailing the measure that passed Wednesday morning as “the most equitable, diverse and inclusive clean energy bill in the entire country.”

It’s a wide-ranging bill creating and funding equity-based training programs, subsidizing nuclear plants and renewable energy, and more. The bill provides that the Energy Transition Assistance Fund, which funds workforce initiatives, will receive up to $180 million annually from a charge on ratepayer bills.

Some of the other major expenditures in the bill include a nearly $700 million five-year subsidy of nuclear plants, and doubling the rate cap from about 2 percent to 4 percent for the charge on ratepayer bills to fund renewable projects.

As it stands, bill negotiators estimate the cost of the bill at about a $3.55 monthly increase to the average residential customer, a $34 increase to commercial user bills and a $31,136 increase to the average industrial bill. That’s an increase of over 3 percent for a residential bill, over 5 percent for a commercial bill and over 7 percent for an industrial bill, Hastings said on the floor.

• See the complete story in the Friday, Sept. 10, print edition of the Clinton Journal or now in the Journal E-Edition for subscribers.

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