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  • Nuclear Saves $1 Billion On Illinois Electricity Bills // Bloomberg: "Vast Swath" of US at Risk of Summer Blackouts // Apex Engaged Indiana Residents in Wind Energy Process - They Banned It

Nuclear Saves $1 Billion On Illinois Electricity Bills // Bloomberg: "Vast Swath" of US at Risk of Summer Blackouts // Apex Engaged Indiana Residents in Wind Energy Process - They Banned It

Nuclear Saves $1 Billion On Illinois Electricity Bills

In Illinois, two nuclear plants just saved ComEd customers $237 each over the next 12 months, reports Fox32.

Last year, the Byron and Dresden nuclear plants were in danger of closing. Constellation, the plants' owner, came to the state for a billion-dollar subsidy. The plants sit in northern Illinois, which belongs to the PJM electricity market. Like most electricity markets, it favors heavily-subsidized renewables and just-in-time natural gas over baseload plants like nuclear.

The state luckily doled out the cash through the Clean Energy Jobs Act, "but added a little-noticed provision that, should prices suddenly spike up, consumers would share in Constellation's windfall." The result? A 12% drop in electric bills during an energy crisis. Business and environmental groups originally opposed the bailout, claiming it would lead to a billion-dollar increase in bills.

"Power prices are going up across the country. And, because of the climate and Equitable Jobs Act, ComEd bills are actually going down this summer, not up," Jim Chilsen of the Citizens Utility Board said.

Michigan, where the Palisades plant sits on the brink of closure, and California, where the Diablo Canyon plant faces the same fate by 2025, should be taking notes.

Bloomberg: "Vast Swath" of US at Risk of Summer Blackouts

Bloomberg has recently reported on the blackout risks we've been covering here for weeks. It's important that a serious publication with enormous reach communicate these issues to the public. In this article, they cover the North American Reliability Corporation's latest Reliability Assessment on the state of the grid. NERC was formed after the 1965 Eastern Interconnection Blackout--the largest blackout the world had seen up to that point. Its job is to monitor the health of the electric grid. Here's a rundown of how Bloomberg is covering it.


  • Climate change: Harsher, hotter summers have come as a result of climate change. This has brought high demand and droughts that diminish hydro's ability to perform.

  • Retirements: "But the fight against global warming poses its own risks as older coal-fired plants close faster than wind farms, solar facilities and batteries can replace them." Again, with this canard that wind, solar, and batteries are even up to that task.

  • Supply chains: Snags have hit the supply chains for wind, solar, and transmission buildouts. Plus, "coal plants are having trouble obtaining fuel amid increased exports."

  • Cyberattacks: "[P]ower grids face a growing threat of cyberattacks because of US support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion, according to NERC."

The Midwest:

  • Across the Midwest, "enough older plants have shut down to cut generation capacity 2.3% since last summer." But demand will grow this summer as temperatures rise.

  • "Even when temperatures are normal, grid managers may need power from neighboring regions to keep air conditioners humming, and a heat wave or low wind speeds could trigger blackouts."

  • The Midwest has a crucial transmission line under repair after until sometime in June. A tornado downed it.

  • NERC had already predicted capacity shortfalls for the region, but not until 2024.

The West:

  • As mentioned above, historic drought is seriously impacting hydro.

  • But drought "even threatens power plants that draw their cooling water from the Missouri River, which is running low, according to the report."

  • Wildfires may blacken the sky, making residential solar irrelevant and those solar owners more demanding on the already strained grid.

  • Supply chain issues are particularly affecting Texas's solar and transmission buildouts.

Not everywhere is seeing the same problems; PJM, for example, expects to make it through the summer a-okay.

Reliability is the keystone to a grid's success. Without it, energy poverty flourishes. This assessment from NERC confirms everything we've been reporting here, especially on CAISO, MISO, and ERCOT.

Apex Engaged Indiana Residents in Wind Energy Process - They Banned It

It's hard to introduce this story better than the journalist who wrote it:

The county in question, Vermillion, sits on the western border of the state. "Apex offered residents unprecedented input on where a wind project fit in the county. They offered a 1% royalty if they built a project and hired a third-party facilitator to help build trust," writes Tomich.

Apex wants to be radically transparent. They wanted the public to see the process as "fair" and to make sure they understood how siting considerations were made. Apex even wanted to give them a say in where the wind turbines would be located.

"But the whole outreach got little traction," Tomich reports. "Few people engaged the company or answered Apex’s surveys. Those who did pay attention were county commissioners, who pursued a zoning ordinance for wind energy projects. The result: a 36-page ordinance that, among other restrictions, requires the base of turbines to be set back at least 2 miles from neighboring property lines and roadway rights of way."

Even a half-mile setback is obstructive. Tomich calls a 2-mile setback an de facto ban.

Though many are treating this as an exceptional case, it's not. Tomich points out that this has happened in other counties. "About a third of the Hoosier State is off-limits to wind because of similar restrictions," he writes. Robert Bryce has been covering these rejections for years, and by his count this has "happened 330 times since 2015. Rejections are happening from Maine to Hawaii."

Wind and solar projects require vast stretches of land because they lack energy density. To quote Bryce again, "The lower your energy density, the higher your resource intensity." Land is one of the most important resources there is. It's no wonder many communities despise these projects--they gobble up the pristine land around them.

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