IL Bill Would Require Utilities (Not Retail Suppliers) To Contract To Redevelop Illinois Coal Plants
Vistra Energy announced today that it supports legislation to be filed in the Illinois General Assembly by State Senator Michael Hastings and State Representative Luis Arroyo, that would redevelop downstate coal plant sites into utility-scale solar and energy storage
The legislation would require utilities with more than 300,000 customers to procure renewable energy credits from new renewable energy resources to be installed at the sites of electric generating facilities that burned coal as their primary fuel source as of January 1, 2019. The Illinois Power Agency would conduct the procurements.
Such a procurement obligation would not be imposed on alternative retail electric suppliers. Costs would be recover through delivery rates
The Illinois Power Agency shall select applicants and new renewable energy resources described under the bill to supply renewable energy credits aggregating to no less than 800,000 renewable energy credits per year for 15 years, assuming sufficient qualifying applications to supply at least that amount of renewable energy credits per year; and no more than 1,000,000 renewable energy credits per year for 15 years
To qualify for the procurement, the applicant shall, among other things, propose and commit to construct and operate, at the site, or on property immediately adjacent to the existing property, of the electric generating facility identified in the bill: (i) a new renewable energy resource of at least 20 megawatts but no more than 100 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and (ii) an energy storage facility to be operated in conjunction with the new renewable energy resource and having a storage capacity in megawatt-hours equal to or greater than the product of the electric generating capacity of the new renewable energy resource in megawatts times 0.5.
Vistra said that the Illinois Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Act would:
• Redevelop downstate coal plant sites into utility-scale solar and energy storage, resulting in approximately 500 MW of new, renewable generation (utility-scale storage and storage). The new facilities must be commercially available between 2021 and 2022.
• Provide that, for each megawatt of new utility-scale solar and battery storage installed at existing coal plants, five times as many megawatts of existing coal-fueled generation must be retired by 2030.
• Provide that stand-alone energy storage would be built at existing coal power plant sites that cannot be repurposed into utility-scale solar generation.
• Keep otherwise at-risk plants online through 2024.
The bill would also give the Illinois Power Agency is given authority to provide 10-year grants to support the development of standalone energy storage facilities of 40 MW to 80 MW capacity at existing coal plant sites that do not have sufficient suitable land to construct utility-scale solar generation of cost-effective scale.
The legislation would help Vistra's subsidiaries bring utility-scale solar and energy storage to Illinois just as Vistra has brought them to other parts of the country, the company said
"Currently, as much as 75 percent of Vistra's subsidiaries' downstate generation capacity located within MISO Zone 4 is at risk of closure by the end of 2019 due to a number of factors. Vistra's subsidiaries' nearly 5,500 megawatts of generation capacity accounts for 40 percent of MISO Zone 4's summer capacity. Closing all of these at-risk plants later this year could have significant and detrimental impacts on workers and their families, communities, grid reliability, and power prices," Vistra said
"There are many challenges to operating power plants in Illinois, from longstanding and unresolved capacity market design flaws to delays in regulatory updates and other economic pressures, including approval of the revised Multi-Pollutant Standard that is critical to the proposed legislation," said Curt Morgan, president and CEO of Vistra and its Illinois subsidiaries