WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 29, 2009) - Exelon Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe, in testimony today before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, called for passage of a comprehensive climate and energy bill to address the greenhouse gas issue and put our nation on the path to a low-carbon future.
In his testimony, Rowe called for an economy-wide bill with realistic targets and timetables, an effective cost-containment mechanism, and a method for awarding allowances to electricity delivery companies to prevent dramatic consumer rate increases.
"We thank Senators Boxer and Kerry and this committee for moving forward with a serious response to climate change," said Rowe. "We are encouraged by the progress of this legislation, and we implore the members of this committee to redouble their efforts to pass a bill that slows, stops, and ultimately reduces greenhouse gas emissions while protecting the American economy."
Rowe also said that one of the most important aspects of cap-and-trade legislation is that it encourages pursuing the least expensive options for reducing carbon emissions first. While any method will cost money, the alternatives to cap-and-trade will cost more.
"Without prompt action, the utility industry will be caught in a carbon purgatory: we will lack the certainty we need to make the large-scale investments in clean generation that are necessary to both keep the lights on and meet the challenges associated with climate change," Rowe said. "We firmly believe that cap-and-trade legislation can accomplish our national environmental objectives while ensuring robust economic growth."
Rowe urged the committee to include measures to ensure that utility customers are protected from sharp rates increases and the economy will not be saddled with major new costs.
"To moderate price increases to consumers, Exelon supports the free allocation of 40 percent of emissions allowances to local delivery companies, which will sell the allowances and use the proceeds to mitigate costs for customers," said Rowe. "To be abundantly clear, neither Exelon nor its shareholders will profit from the allowances to local delivery companies."
Rowe also called for additional provisions to encourage development of low-carbon nuclear energy.
"New nuclear plants will both help us meet our future energy needs and also serve as an important source of green jobs," Rowe said. "For every 1,000 megawatts of capacity, nuclear power provides 550 operations jobs--more than coal, wind or natural gas."
Exelon is not waiting to address the growing danger of climate change. Last year, the company launched Exelon 2020, an environmental and business strategy to reduce, offset or displace more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2020. In April 2009, Exelon announced that it had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 35 percent from 2001 to 2008.
"We look forward to working with the Senate to enact comprehensive climate legislation in 2009 or early 2010," said Rowe. "Climate change truly is one of the greatest challenges facing our nation and the world in this new century, and nothing is more important for our nation's economic, energy and environmental future than dealing with it. Now is the time to get on with it."
Rowe is the electricity industry's longest-serving chief executive, with nearly 26 years as a utility CEO. Rowe was among the first CEOs in the industry to focus on climate change, first testifying before Congress on the potential effects of carbon emissions in 1992. He currently serves as co-chair of the bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy, and previously chaired the Edison Electric Institute and the Nuclear Energy Institute.
Rowe's written testimony submitted to the committee is available on the Exelon Web site at: www.exeloncorp.com/aboutus/speakersbureau.