Read: Exelon CEO John W. Rowe's written remarks to the National Governors Association.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 23, 2009) - In a keynote address at Saturday's opening of the 101st annual National Governors Association (NGA) winter meeting, Exelon Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe called on the nation's governors to invest in and support low-carbon energy infrastructure and initiatives to address the issues of climate change, the nation's energy security and the current economy.
Drawing on his 25 years as an electric utility CEO, Rowe urged the nation's leaders to take a comprehensive approach to energy policy, while warning that piecemeal efforts are tempting in a recession environment.
"We've got to have renewable energy sources, we must address energy independence, we must address the climate issue - and in this economy we must do all of these as efficiently as possible," Rowe said.
Rowe called upon the governors to support a market-driven system that places a price on carbon emissions, creating incentives for industry to build the new energy infrastructure that will allow the country to transition to a low-carbon future.
"We must have a system - like cap-and-trade or a carbon tax - that rationalizes the economics of each alternative so that the entire engine of the economy is looking for the most cost-effective solutions to our energy needs," Rowe said.
Rowe addressed the governors during the NGA's opening plenary session, "Energy Infrastructure for the 21st Century." Following his remarks, NGA Chairman and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell facilitated a question-and-answer session with the governors in attendance.
In addition to market-driven innovation and investment, and placing a price on carbon, Rowe's five-point plan for addressing the nation's energy needs calls for investment in transmission infrastructure, appropriate governmental climate change policies and regulations, and energy industry leadership.
Rowe has frequently called on the entire energy industry to do more to lower its own carbon footprint and help customers do the same. Exelon is leading by example with its own plan (Exelon 2020) for addressing climate change, by reducing, offsetting or displacing more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. This is more than the company's current annual carbon footprint and the equivalent to taking nearly 3 million cars off the roads.
Rowe has an experienced perspective on how to meet future energy needs in a low-carbon manner. In addition to being the longest-serving chief executive in the energy industry, he was among the first CEOs in the utility industry to focus on the issue of climate change and first testified before Congress on the subject in 1992. Rowe currently serves as chair of the Nuclear Energy Institute and co-chair of the bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy and has previously chaired the Edison Electric Institute. Exelon is also a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership.