LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted September 17, 2021
Illinois legislators just voted to turn out the lights in Illinois
Last week, we were called back to Springfield to vote on an energy deal that fell apart on the Senate floor last spring because some of the most powerful special interests in the state - from ComEd to the Green New Deal Lobby - were in conflict.
Last week was the same story. Only this time, the state’s powerful special interests negotiated a deal that made them all happy. Good news for the political class. Bad news for ratepayers, local municipalities, business owners and workers - the people who weren’t in the room.
How bad is it? Remember the 1995 “pension ramp” that ended up accelerating the state’s fiscal crisis and running up the highest pension liability in the nation? Well, the new energy bill is “1995 Pension Ramp” on steroids.
Over the next nine years, the energy bill will dismantle nearly 35% of our electrical generation capacity and at the same time force ratepayers to spend over $5 billion on wind and solar projects that currently make up 10% of our electrical power generation after decades of taxpayer support.
The bill is a virtue-signaling experiment that will fail, but not before major rate increases for businesses and residents. Business groups, who understand how important affordable and reliable energy is, have said this bill will be the largest rate hike in the history of our state. Neither the bill sponsors nor Governor Pritzker knows the total cost of the bill. Ask them. They can’t tell you. What they can tell you is that Exelon will receive $700 million over five years, wind and solar companies will receive over $550 million per year indefinitely, and billions more will be spent on other green initiatives.
Environmentalists won’t admit that this legislation is actually more destructive than doing nothing. The legislation mandates that Prairie State Energy - the cleanest coal fired plant in America, which powers over 2.5 million homes - must close. This legislation was passed with no strategy or thought about the feasibility of powering a modern economy without clean coal technology. Illinois will have no choice in the future but to import electricity generated by burning coal from surrounding states. Wind and solar cannot provide the reliable power necessary to run our Illinois economy, the fifth largest in the US.
And in a twist of hypocrisy, the greenies agreed to let older state-run coal plants continue to operate.
What else happened behind those closed doors? Remember Exelon? Our political leaders handed Exelon everything they asked for and more: more subsidies on top of the subsidies they are still receiving from the 2016 bailout that gave them $2.4 billion over 10 years. AND they just got those same “leaders” to shut down their competition for baseload energy supply by shutting down coal and natural gas generators. Exelon will eventually have monopoly power in the supply of energy in this state.
So what did you get - besides a steadily increasing electric bill?
Well, if you own a Tesla and live in the right part of the state, you might qualify for a $4,000 tax credit. If you live in Downers Grove you can get the credit. If you live in Dekalb or Decatur, forget it. Contact your state legislator to see if you qualify. And what if you can’t afford a $40,000 electric vehicle? Well, then you just get to foot the bill for this and billions of dollars more of unnecessary spending.
State Representatives Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville), Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) and Chris Miller (R-Oakland).