– by Thomas Content, June 19, Journal Sentinel
The plummeting price of natural gas and future environmental regulations are making utilities do things that were practically unheard of years ago, from shutting down nuclear plants to turning to natural gas for a variety of fuels in power plants.
Following the lead of Dominion Resources Inc., which shut down the Kewaunee Power Station nuclear power plant in Wisconsin three years ago, Chicago utility Exelon Corp. announced plans to shutter two Illinois nuclear plants early — unless the Illinois lawmakers agree to concessions that would allow the plants to be more cost-effective.
The moves are being driven by prices in the wholesale power market, including both the low cost of natural gas and the growing number of wind farms. Low-cost wind provides one-third of the electricity consumed in Iowa.