Katie Stonewater | Executive Director, Energy Council | 312-386-7795




The House and Senate are back in session next week. On to the update! 


April 26, 2019

SPRINGFIELD
Welcome back. The House and Senate are back in session on April 30th, kicking off the last five weeks of session to a May 31st adjournment. Hopefully. The Governor has some big-ticket items he is trying to pass before the end of session - budget; graduated income tax on the ballot; legalizing marijuana; sports gambling; capital bill; and maybe more. That's a packed to-do list. As I wrote last week, what remains on the energy front is still unknown. Most of the larger energy proposals have been sent back to Rules and Assignments and there hasn't been much if any direction on broader negotiations. See last week's newsletter for where we left off.
 
While there is likely to be little bill movement, the conversation continues with a subject matter hearing in the Senate this week for two of the proposals. More on that and at the time of this writing, what's expected for next week.
 
Tuesday
House Public Utilities will meet at 2pm for a subject matter hearing on HB125, Amdt 2. Amendment 2 adds the Competitive Clean Energy Act, which would replace the existing renewable portfolio standard, clean coal portfolio standard, zero emission standard, and energy efficiency portfolio standard and essentially combine those into one resource standard, the Clean Energy Attribute Credits. The current contract terms and prices of the various resource standards would be honored. The Clean Energy Attribute Credits would apply to resources that can prove verified reductions in carbon dioxide emissions compared to 2015 levels in order to make nearly all zero to low carbon outputs eligible. The bill would require procurement of these resources up to 80% of Illinois electricity consumption with the goal to reach 100% from carbon free resources by 2050. The bill would also require the IPA to procure the lowest cost resources first and includes a cost cap at approximately $24 MWhr - this is roughly the sum of the existing resource standards.
 
The Committee also has a few bills posted that have passed the Senate, but it is not clear yet if they will be called. The bills are:
 
SB211 (Bennett/Stuart) which allows the state, for construction purposes, to enter into energy conservation contracts or energy saving contracts that provide utility savings.
 
SB1529 (Harmon/Hoffman) concerns start dates for REC contracts if the project is delayed due to finalizing interconnection agreements due to actions or inactions by the transmission operator.
 
SB1792 (Aquino/Slaughter) requires an independent study on battery storage and requires certain things to be analyzes, such as cost-savings to customers.
 
House Energy and Environment meet at 3.30pm. The Chamber does not have a position on the bills posted for Committee on Tuesday. We did provide agreed language to Senator Munoz for SB1847 that made us neutral on the bill. It would amend the Environmental Protection Act to provides that the Environmental Protection Agency shall provide notice when a permit for a new facility is required. The full bill list is here.
 
 
Thursday
Senate Energy and Public Utilities has posted two subject matter hearings and has a few bills posted for Committee. The first hearing is posted for 11am and the second at 1pm. The 11am hearing has posted four bills. The bill list is here and we do not have a position on those bills. The Committee has then posted a subject matter on power lines in the City of Rochelle. There has been a disagreement over the City's efforts to sell its high-voltage power line. More information here.
 
The second subject matter hearing will hear testimony on SB135, Amdt 3, the Competitive Clean Energy Act, addressed above, and SB660, Amdt 1, Exelon's capacity market reform bill. The Chamber will be testifying in opposition to SB660. The language is the same as the House bill which would allow ComEd to utilize a mechanism at PJM to acquire its own capacity, which would be done through the Illinois Power Agency.  The bill lays out what capacity shall be purchased, requiring the bulk of it to come from "clean capacity". There are a lot of placeholders in the legislation however, so there are still a lot of unknowns. While we understand the bill will receive additional amendments, the proposal is still a major change that could have significant cost implications for the state and ratepayers and is a shift away from the markets.  Further, we are awaiting a ruling from FERC addressing this issue and there are questions to the urgency being pushed by the proponents. The Chamber testified in opposition to the bill in the House and plans to in the Senate.

ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION
I forgot to mention in my newsletter last week that the ICC but two new Commissioners have nominated to the ICC. Carrie Zalewski, former Illinois Pollution Control Board member, replaces Brien Sheahan as Chair. Sheahan will stay on the Commission until his term is up next year. Maria Bocanegra has also been named to the Commission. Bocanegra served on the Workers Compensation Board prior to being nominated to the ICC. Both are subject to confirmations by the Illinois Senate before their appointments can be official.
 
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