In the end, the $3.5-billion Taylorville Energy Center proposed for Christian County died quietly. Tenaska gave it one last shot in early 2013 when Democratic State Sen. Andy Menar resurrected a bill from last year that would have authorized the Illinois Power Agency to purchase Taylorville’s entire output at prices slightly above market.
But Menar’s measure, Senate Bill 2392, went nowhere before the General Assembly recessed for the summer and supporters reluctantly acknowledged the chances it would receive a favorable airing in the fall veto session in Springfield were not good.
Taylorville enjoyed the enthusiastic backing of the Illinois Coal Association and other coal advocates as well as local officials in Christian County and central Illinois. It faced, however, a formidable group of opponents in the form of the STOP Coalition, led by politically powerful Exelon Corp., the parent company of Chicago-based Commonwealth Edison, and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. They warned Taylorville would raise electricity costs for millions of residential, commercial and industrial customers.
Exelon, the project’s supporters claimed, also did not want another in-state competitor for Exelon’s fleet of nuclear power plants.
Dave Fiorelli, Tenaska president of development, blamed a number of market and policy changes since Taylorville’s inception for the project’s eventual demise. According to Fiorelli, changing factors included: An increase in the supply of natural gas and a significant decrease in the price of gas; the reduced cost of renewable power; and the lack of state legislation to implement the long-term sale of the project’s output.