Tuesday, November 23, 2010

$5 Billion Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Power producer Exelon has said it will invest $5 billion, starting this year, on efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Chicago-based company is halfway through its Exelon 2020 strategy, which aims to eliminate the equivalent of its emissions level seen in the year 2001 by 2020.

Today it detailed achievements to date and scoped out its intentions for the next stage.

Among the company’s plans are an expansion in its nuclear generating facilities and natural gas plants, as well as work to improve the output of its existing generating facilities and the closure of four “inefficient” coal plants.

But, it is also intending a major energy efficiency drive and investment in renewable energy.

As well as improving its environmental impact, Exelon said its “low cost” plans would support “thousands” of jobs within its own organization and at more than 5,000 suppliers.

John W. Rowe, chairman and CEO of Exelon, said: “There is no need to promote clean energy subsidies at any cost. At Exelon we are making new clean energy investments while minimizing the costs our customers will pay for a clean energy future.”

Renewable energy development will be led by Exelon’s newly-acquired development company John Deere Renewables (see this BrighterEnergy.org story), which has already added a 735-megawatts of wind power to Exelon’s portfolio in the form of 36 wind farms in eight states.

The company said it has the opportunity to pursue 1,468MW of new wind projects through John Deere Renewables, including 230MW in “advanced” stages of development. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2010.

$5 Federal Stimulus Funding for Solar

Exelon’s renewable energy plans also include piloting a residential solar power program to investigate the benefits of household solar panels.With $5 million of federal stimulus funding, it will study the benefits from solar systems at 100 homes.

And, the company is also working to re-license its Conowingo hydropower facility in Maryland and the Muddy Run pumped storage facility in Pennsylvania to keep the facilities operating for another 40 years.

Cutting the energy consumption of its own facilities and that of its 5.4 million customers is also a major part of Exelon’s plans to cut its carbon footprint.

Exelon operates more than 125 commercial facilities across its 13,000 square mile service territory, for which it intends to cut the energy consumption by 25%.

For its customers, Exelon is putting in place smart grid and smart meter technology, with plans to invest $290 million each year in northern Illinois and southeastern Pennsylvania over the next five years. The move should achieve cumulative savings of 3.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, the company said, and reduce its peak load by 388MW.

Among the plans, Exelon’s PECO utility has already begun deploying 600,000 smart meters for its customers, in a program set to be completed by 2013.

Exelon’s plans also include efforts to reduce the emissions from its vehicle fleet, through initiatives including an electric vehicle program set to begin next year. The PECO and ComEd utilities will deploy more than 300 plug-in hybrid-electric trucks and Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicles, in a program backed by $45 million in federal stimulus money.


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