One year in, Future Energy Jobs Act on pace to add jobs, draw investment

Gov. Rauner signed landmark legislation in December 2016

CORDOVA - Addressing gatherings at nuclear power plants in Cordova and Clinton, Gov. Bruce Rauner today celebrated the jobs saved and gains made one year in to the state’s tenure with the Future Energy Jobs Act.

“Today we are here to celebrate the bright future of energy jobs in Illinois,” Rauner said. “Thanks to the Future Energy Jobs Act, Illinois is poised to compete head-to-head with any state in the nation to attract energy investment and jobs, while still protecting ratepayers and taxpayers.”

Dec. 7, 2016, legislators, industry stakeholders and members of the Rauner Administration came together for the signing of FEJA. The landmark piece of legislation prevented the Quad Cities and Clinton power plants from closing, saving 800 jobs in the Quad Cities and 700 in Clinton while ushering in the addition of 100 more permanent Exelon jobs plus 400 construction jobs while capital improvements are under way.

“The passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act reaffirmed Illinois as an environmental leader and, when fully implemented, should preserve thousands of good-paying jobs for Illinois families,” said Dave Rhoades, Exelon Nuclear chief operating officer. “As a result of this landmark legislation that values nuclear’s environmental benefits, Clinton and Quad Cities stations are prepared for long-term operations.”

Through careful negotiations, not only were thousands of direct and indirect jobs saved at the Quad Cities and Clinton facilities, but a big win also was ensured for consumers who are set to enjoy $4 billion or more in lower energy bills over the 10-year lifetime of the act.

“This groundbreaking legislation kept more than 800 people in the Quad Cities area working,” said state Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia, chief co-sponsor of the legislation. “Equally important, this shows that positive things can happen when local communities come together and leaders listen and follow through.”

State Sen. Chapin Rose, another of the legislation’s key proponents, thanked the governor for signing the bill. “This is a huge deal for our area,” the Mahomet Republican said. “Keeping these jobs while also keeping the price of power low is of major importance to downstate Illinois.”  

The provisions of FEJA place Illinois in the running for billions of dollars in private investment to grow tens of thousands of jobs. Overall, FEJA is expected to lead to $12 to $15 billion in additional energy investment, according to an Environmental Defense Fund analysis.

Also weighing in were state Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, and state Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Decatur.

“The Quad Cities Nuclear Generating Station provides power to over a million people in the region," McCombie said. “The Future Energy Jobs Act has spurred new local investment that solidifies Exelon's commitment to our communities and directly employ hundreds of people from the Quad Cities area.”

“The Future Energy Jobs Act preserved our nuclear plants and protected thousands of jobs for Illinois working families,” said Mitchell, noting that Rauner and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin worked tirelessly on its passage. “This was not an easy bill to pass and they moved mountains to help get it done.”