From The Center Square:
Op-Ed: Lawmakers should say ‘no’ to subsidies for Exelon nuclear plants
- By Michael Patrick Flanagan
As federal lawmakers deliberate over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion plan to beef up American infrastructure, few might have noticed that the current plan also includes a $6 billion credit line for nuclear plants.
Americans of all stripes should be concerned that some of these funds in this credit line could go to prop up profitable nuclear plants that don’t appear to need help.
Such a question hits hard in Illinois.
Recently, the Illinois state legislature approved a bill that offers nearly $700 million in subsidies to Exelon for its Byron and Dresden nuclear plants and Gov. J.B. Pritzker ultimately signed the legislation into law.
Not only have independent analyses shown the nuclear plants to be profitable, Exelon is also under intense legal scrutiny for corruption.
Why would lawmakers on any level even consider rewarding the company with subsidies?
For starters, the two nuclear plants Exelon claims are struggling – Byron and Dresden – are actually operating at a profit.
In fact, the Independent Market Monitor verified the profitability of the plants, finding that Byron is operating at a budget surplus of $77.5 million without subsidies and Dresden is operating at an annual budget surplus of $83.7 million also excluding subsidies.
The Electric Power Supply Association, in fact, testified to the profitability of these plants in June of this year before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
What’s more, the Independent Market Monitor for PJM, the power grid operator for the area including parts of Illinois, has stated that not a single nuclear plant on the PJM system is at risk of retirement.
The fact that these plants don’t need public subsidies isn’t a matter of opinion, but fact.
This point was driven home earlier this year by Illinois State Senate President Don Harmon, who pointed to independent economic analysis that found Exelon’s plants were economically viable and didn’t need public welfare to survive.
“Independent market monitors believe these plants can be profitable,” Harmon said in a statement, directly contradicting the narrative Exelon has repeatedly foisted on lawmakers and the public.