At a Springfield hearing last week, members of the House Public Utilities Committee discussed proposed modifications to the state’s new clean energy law amid warnings of electric rate increases and possible rolling brownouts throughout central and southern Illinois.
Electricity costs will soar beginning in June in central and southern Illinois, due to inadequate power supplies following coal-fired plant closures. Ameren Illinois is within the MISO grid covering much of downstate Illinois and according to the Illinois Manufacturers Association, central and southern Illinois families could soon be paying nearly $600 more in annual electricity costs.
Critics of policies phasing out coal and natural gas in favor of renewable power are seeing their doomsday forecasts start to come true far faster than even they thought. The price shock downstate also hands Republicans who didn’t support Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s sprawling, costly Climate & Equitable Jobs Act, or CEJA, last year an issue in the upcoming election.
The statute requires the closure of all fossil fuel power plants in Illinois no later than 2045. Effectively, it’s made the usual method of addressing power-supply shortages—construction of new natural gas-fired plants—uneconomic and significantly reduced the tools available to address the shortage that’s emerged.