Releases whitepaper on preserving nuclear fleet provisions in its Climate Union Jobs Act

 Bill includes insurance policy to protect consumers if market energy prices increase, reducing required subsidies

Springfield, Ill. — An independent report today found that Illinois’ nuclear fleet is economically unviable and requires state support. The report, authored by Synapse Energy Economics, comes as the state considers the best way to move to a 100 percent carbon-free economy. 

Labor coalition Climate Jobs Illinois (CJI) has outlined how the state could achieve this in a transparent and accountable way in a new whitepaper. Among findings, the whitepaper shows that:

Jobs and value 

  • Without the nuclear fleet, Illinois would lose 60 percent of its carbon-free power generation.
  • Provide the jobs of 28,000 of workers directly and indirectly employed by the state’s nuclear plants and securing over $125 million in tax revenue to the state along with critical tax revenue to municipal governments that help fund schools and keep property tax rates stable.

How to support

  • The non-ZEC nuclear plants are financially stressed because they do not receive any compensation for the carbon free power they produce.
  • The Climate Union Jobs Act would provide Carbon Mitigation Credits to provide support to the nuclear plants with an insurance policy to protect consumers. 
  • If market prices for energy increase (providing more payment for the power generated), the bill includes a mechanism that would dynamically respond and lower the credit value offered to the nuclear plants. This insurance policy protects Illinois consumers from paying more than is necessary to operate the plants. 

Level of support 

  • According to the Illinois Power Authority, current state programs provide renewable generation anywhere from approximately $30 – $100 per mwh for producing carbon-free power.
  • In recent years, other states like New York, Connecticut and New Jersey have stepped in to compensate their nuclear plants for the carbon-free power generation. 
  • Some of the Illinois nuclear plants receive Zero Carbon Credits to compensate those plants for their carbon-free generation. That support is slightly below the support other states have provided to their nuclear plants. It is estimated that the support needed for the non-ZEC plants would be lower than current ZEC support.

“The report confirms that the state should support its nuclear fleet to reach our climate goals and to protect thousands of good-paying jobs. We urge the General Assembly to support the nuclear fleet at parity with its support for renewable generation over the last decade,” Climate Jobs Illinois Executive Director Joe Duffy said. 

Read the paper

Climate Jobs Illinois represents the hundreds of thousands of Illinois working men and women who are best equipped to build Illinois’ new clean-energy economy from the ground up. Executive Committee members of Climate Jobs Illinois are: Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union, the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers State Council, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, Laborers International Union of North America Great Lakes Region, Laborers International Union of North America Midwest Region, Service Employees International Union State Council and United Auto Workers Region 4.

Climate Jobs Illinois is a state affiliate of the Climate Jobs National Resource Center. CJI has partnered with The Project for Middle Class Renewal at UIUC, Illinois Economic Policy Institute and Cornell University Worker Institute.

To learn more, visit, and follow CJI at @ClimateJobsIL on Twitter or join its Facebook page