Illinois can quickly pivot its legacy downstate energy fleet to be part of the renewable energy economy through a partnership between the State of Illinois, Illinois Power Agency, and the Illinois subsidiaries of Vistra Energy and utility companies. Under the transformation plan, the State will spur the rapid development and deployment of more than 300 megawatts (MW) of new utility-scale solar plants and approximately 150 MW of new energy storage facilities across central and southern Illinois.

The Illinois Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Act establishes a reasonable, affordable, and achievable transition plan for downstate generation that works within pre-established rate-caps:

NEW UTILITY-SCALE RENEWABLE ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE BUILDS ON PREVIOUS EFFORTS

The Act builds on previous legislative efforts to encourage renewable energy assets across Illinois and calls for the creation of utility-scale solar and energy storage. Today, Illinois only has 40 MW of large-scale solar facilities and 130 MW of energy storage. This plan diversifies Illinois’ renewable portfolio and Vistra is one of the most experienced developers of utility-scale solar and energy storage facilities in the nation.

Facilitates An Investment of Over $450 Million In New Utility-Scale Renewable Energy Assets:

To ensure the rapid deployment of utility-scale renewable energy infrastructure, the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) will award 15-year contracts to existing plant owners to provide an aggregate amount of 400,000 to 600,000 Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) per year, priced at $35 per REC. Vistra will be solely responsible for the initial capital investment needed to develop and build the energy infrastructure required under the plan.

Responsibly Maintain Existing Energy Assets Through 2025:

For a variety of longstanding factors, between 2015 and 2022 approximately 4,700 MW of electricity generation capacity – enough power for 2.3 million homes – has closed or will close in Illinois MISO Zone 4 market. The Act provides a mechanism, tied to market prices for capacity, to provide transition assistance of no more than $92.5 million/year in total, and very likely less, to keep up to 2,200 MW of electric generation capacity online through 2025.

After 2025, market conditions and other policy decisions will determine the future of the remaining legacy coal-fueled plants, but this assistance period gives union energy workers and their families, local communities, vendors, and suppliers time to prepare and transition, while helping ensure there is sufficient generation capacity to meet the downstate MISO Zone 4 needs while more renewable generation is planned and built.

Shovel-ready Solar and Energy Storage Projects Come Online Between 2022 and 2025:

Since Vistra already owns all of the land and transmission infrastructure at its sites, the renewable energy projects can be quickly built with union labor. Vistra has already taken the steps to design the solar and energy storage facilities and seek approval from grid operators to connect the new renewable energy assets to the grid – a costly process that can take years. These projects are shovel-ready and can begin as soon as 2021.

Coal to Solar and Energy Storage Initiative Charge: These programs will be funded through a new statewide add-on charge to delivery service customers. Collections of the charge not needed for funding of the programs will be refunded to customers.

An Affordable Investment In A Renewable And Emission-Free Future: Over the life of the program it is estimated that a typical residential consumer would pay about $0.27/month for the benefit of providing a reasonable transition to renewable and emissions-free energy assets across Illinois, creating thousands of construction jobs and economic value.

A Decreasing Financial Impact Over Time: It is projected that an average monthly residential user would pay $0.60/month until 2024; drop to $0.43/month for 2025; then $0.21 from 2026-2033; and continue to drop until the end of the program in 2037.

The Illinois Coal to Solar Act of 2019 (HB 5663/SB 3848) has been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly.

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