US utility Exelon is to invest nearly $5 billion in low-carbon energy projects starting this year, as part of plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 15 million tonnes a year by 2020.
The Chicago-based company will spend close to $5 billion on energy-efficiency and smart grid programmes, renewable energy projects and increasing output at Exelon’s nuclear plants. Most of the investments will be made in Pennsylvania and Illinois, where the majority of its customers are based.
The firm said it is already half way to reaching its 2020 goal, having reduced, offset or displaced almost 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Its plans are part of a broader strategy, dubbed Exelon 2020, which is expected to result in new equipment orders, engineering and construction contracts, and professional and technical service agreements. These investments also aim to support thousands of jobs, both at Exelon and its more than 5,000 suppliers.
Chairman and CEO of Exelon, John Rowe, said: “We are committed to a clean and secure energy supply at the lowest cost to the communities and customers we serve and the markets in which we operate.”
“The question facing the United States is not whether it should reduce air pollution and carbon emissions, but how to do so affordably, especially in light of current economic conditions. The pending suite of [Environmental Protection Agency] regulations will help drive the transition to a cleaner energy future.”
Some of the key initiatives under the Exelon 2020 programme include shutting down four carbon-intensive power generation units that run on coal, gas and oil. Combined, the units account for 933MW of generating capacity.
Exelon will also increase output from its nuclear fleet which has grown by 100MW to more than 17GW since 2008, but planned expansions through 2017 could add up to 1,500MW of capacity.
By. Tatei Montejo
Source: Environmental Finance