CORDOVA — Exelon Generation announced Thursday that it has formally notified grid operator PJM Interconnection of its plans to retire the Quad-Cities Generating Station in Cordova on June 1, 2018.
The step is the latest of several procedural notifications that Exelon is required to make prior to closing the Quad-Cities and Clinton nuclear stations. The notification comes two weeks after Exelon formally notified the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission of its decision.
After a long campaign of warning the plants could be retired prematurely without legislative reform, Exelon announced June 2 it decided to close the nuclear plants given the lack of progress on the proposed Illinois legislation.
"The decision to retire Quad-Cities still can be reversed if we can get the proposed Illinois energy legislation passed, but time is clearly running out," Bill Stoermer, spokesman for Exelon's Quad-Cities Station, said Thursday.
He added that Exelon will follow a series of procedural notifications in the coming months as it informs regulators, grid operators and state agencies.
The Clinton plant is slated to close June 1, 2017. That plant operates in the MISO energy market, and Exelon said it will formally notify that operator later this year.
“We continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure the retirement of these plants is carried out responsibly, safely and with consideration to the employees and the communities in which the plants operate," Exelon President and CEO Chris Crane said in a news release Thursday. “We are committed to being transparent at every step in the process, and that includes giving grid operators ample time to prepare for the loss of these units.”
Exelon said the two stations have lost a combined $800 million in the past seven years, despite being two of its best-performing nuclear plants.
The company plans to operate the Quad-Cities facility until the retirement date with staff transitions expected within six months after retirement. The station employs nearly 900 workers. The Clinton plant employs 700 workers.
Exelon said it will continue to work with stakeholders on passing its Next Generation Energy Plan in the Illinois Legislature. The company says the plan would level the electricity-generating playing field.
While the reforms may come too late to save Quad-Cities and Clinton, Exelon said it is committed to working with policymakers and other stakeholders to advance the plan that promotes zero-carbon energy, creates and preserves clean-energy jobs, establishes a more equitable utility rate structure and gives customers more control over their bills.
Critics have called the proposed energy legislation a bailout for a profitable company.
Collectively, the two plants support 4,200 direct and indirect jobs and produce more than $1.2 billion in economic activity annually. According to a report by the state of Illinois, closing the plants would increase wholesale energy costs for the region by $439 million to $645 million a year.