Court Upholds Illinois Nuclear Subsidies Law. Here’s Why It’s a Big Deal for Renewable Energy, Too.

Wind turbines accompany Exelon’s nuclear power plant near Marseilles, Illinois. A state law helps support both nuclear and renewable energy. Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a 2016 Illinois law that provides subsidies to nuclear power plants and also supports clean energy programs in the state. It’s the latest of several federal rulings to uphold the right of states to regulate electricity prices within their borders, giving states latitude to subsidize certain energy sources. " The decision is a big win for states’ authority over energy policy. That’s important because states have been the big driver for clean energy in the U.S.," said Miles Farmer, staff attorney for the climate and clean energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. The ability of states to regulate electricity prices is at the heart of several state renewable energy programs that are considered critical to the nation’s ability to cut greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change . A defeat in the Illinois case likely would have been used to challenge those renewable energy policies, such as support of offshore wind farms in the Northeast and a new California law requiring all electricity in the state […]

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