Clean energy proposals could have impact on Springfield utility bills

Illinois Capitol News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Springfield runs mainly on coal.

The city-owned power plant, City, Water, Light and Power, is unique in the way it not only distributes power, but generates it strictly for the state’s capital. It will have to make some big changes quickly if the state passes one of the proposed new clean energy plans.

“I think one of the bills that we’ve seen proposed adds about 24 million dollars in taxes, basically, per year. So, you know, that’s a huge increase to our customers,” CWLP Chief Utility Engineer Doug Brown said.

City, Water, Light and Power would like to have until about 2045 to phase out their coal powered plants, but the governor’s proposal would give them only until 2030. Brown said they can meet that deadline, but it would come at the cost of higher utility bills for consumers, and a less reliable power grid.

“We’re not for profit. So our costs are directly borne by our citizens. So any impact it’s made to the our utility is borne by our city. So there is no getting out of it,” Brown said.

Lawmakers have acknowledged that a new clean energy policy could lead to higher utility bills in the short term. Clean energy advocates say if the state passes one of the proposals, then it would only help Springfield in the transition.

“The state has been behind and helping communities like Springfield making this transition. But if the clean energy jobs act or something like it becomes law in the days to come, Springfield’s not gonna be on its own,” Jack Darin with the Sierra Club said.

Springfield is already in the process of transitioning to cleaner energy sources.
But the governor’s latest proposal would require the city shut down it’s newest unit — built in 2009 — only 21 years after it opened.

Governor Pritzker’s proposal would phase out coal in the state by 2030 and natural gas by 2045. The end goal was to get to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

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