Exelon threatens to shut Byron plant early, possibly by 2022

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Exelon has singled out the Byron nuclear power plant in a study of facilities that the company may close, due to expense.

The plant was scheduled to run until 2040, but the company says financial risk of operating the plant  is being considered for its early retirement.

According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Byron’s plant is “showing increased signs of economic distress, which could lead to an early retirement, in a market that does not currently compensate them for their unique contribution to grid resiliency and their ability to produce large amounts of energy without carbon and air pollution.”

Exelon also lists Illinois plants in Braidwood, in Will County, and Dresden, in Morris, on the list of closure candidates.

Exelon blames the energy capacity auction, which determines prices that consumers pay for energy, for the financial strain on its generating stations.

In a statement to Crain’s Chicago Business, Exelon said,“We are working with Illinois policymakers and other stakeholders on solutions to not only maintain Illinois’ clean energy progress but to further advance efforts to reduce and eliminate carbon emissions in the electric power and other sectors.”

Crain’s says its unlikely that the state would allow all three plants to close, as they could jeopardize power supply to Chicago, and expects that Springfield could act on energy legislation in the meantime.

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