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Illinois proposal would shut down state’s largest carbon emitter

March 17, 2021

Energy News Network:

A controversial Illinois coal plant that has locked municipalities across the Midwest into financially crushing contracts could be forced to close within a decade under proposed state clean energy legislation. 

The Clean Energy Jobs Act would require mandatory closure dates for all coal plants in the state, including the Prairie State Energy Campus, a 1,600-megawatt southern Illinois power station that is by far the state’s largest carbon emitter.

Shutting down the plant would be a major climate victory, but it wouldn’t necessarily provide financial relief for cities and ratepayers, which is why clean energy and consumer advocates are calling for elected officials to address the enormous debt associated with the troubled plant.

“Sadly a lot of the stuff we all feared would happen has come home to roost,” said Sandy Buchanan, executive director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, which has published many reports on Prairie State. “The only reason Prairie State is operating at the level it is, is because it has these 50-year guaranteed contracts with cities essentially locked into buying the power. No one would buy the power if it was just a market choice.” 

[Kari Lydersen]

More: Illinois legislation could free towns from dirty power but not the payments

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