BALTIMORE, MD - Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG) today announced that it has awarded 85 EcoStar grants totaling $355,000 to nonprofit organizations engaged in environmental stewardship projects in states where Constellation Energy does business. The grants of up to $5,000 each will fund community-based projects that support Constellation Energy's long-standing commitment to protecting the environment. Funding was provided by the Constellation Energy Foundation, which launched the EcoStar Grant program in January 2010.
EcoStar grants were awarded to projects that fit into one or more of five stewardship categories: pollution prevention; education and outreach; energy efficiency; conservation; and community activism. The awards went to recipients in 17 states and will support a variety of initiatives, ranging from community gardens and habitat restoration projects to innovative programs promoting energy efficiency, storm water management and improved air quality, among many others.
"The EcoStar grants program enables Constellation Energy to leverage our environmental stewardship resources with the expertise and passion of local community groups to make lasting environmental improvements," said Paul J. Allen, senior vice president of corporate affairs and chief environmental officer for Constellation Energy. "We are proud of the work accomplished by 62 EcoStar recipients last year and very much look forward to the implementation of 85 new environmental initiatives planned by this year's EcoStar award recipients."
In 2009, Constellation Energy joined the ranks of companies that give one percent or more of their annual operating income to support charitable organizations and causes. The EcoStar Grant program is one of a range of initiatives, donations and grants targeting one of the company's key areas of focus, environmental stewardship.
In 2010, Constellation Energy awarded 62 EcoStar grants, totaling $300,000. The program engaged more than 100,000 students and community members across 62 communities through education and hands-on conservation projects. Last year's EcoStar-funded initiatives protected and restored more than 830 acres of habitat. Approximately 600 native plants and 9,500 trees were planted, along with the removal of 1,200 pounds of invasive species. More than six tons of trash were removed from 30 streams and other natural areas, and an additional 4,580 pounds of recyclable metal were recovered. Recipients also used EcoStar grants to help cut 220,656 gallons of fuel usage, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2,835 tons, and made 10-20 percent energy reductions through conservation and education programs.
To qualify for an EcoStar grant, a project must be located in an area where Constellation Energy does business. Applicants also are required to have a board of directors and be designated a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
A complete list of the 85 organizations that received 2011 EcoStar grants and a brief description of each project can be found on the EcoStar section of Constellation Energy's website.
The EcoStar grants program is just one part of Constellation Energy's commitment to environmental stewardship. We are delivering innovative energy solutions that help our customers control energy usage, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and utilize sources of renewable energy. This includes the launch of VirtuWattâ„¢, a powerful combination of hardware and online applications that allow commercial customers to monitor electricity use in real-time and make more efficient use of energy. In 2010 we developed the first wind farm in the state of Maryland, and nationwide we have approximately 60 megawatts of customer-sited solar installations operating or in development. Our clean energy portfolio includes more than 1,000 megawatts of renewable power generation owned or under contract. More than 90 percent of the total output of Constellation Energy's 12,000-megawatt generation fleet comes from near-zero or low-emission nuclear and natural gas plants, and from coal plants we have already retrofitted with state-of-the-art pollution control equipment. BGE, our regulated utility in central Maryland, traces its roots back to the nation's first gas light utility and continues to innovate with plans to install more than 2 million advanced meters later this year as part of an ambitious smart grid program that gives customers new tools to actively manage their energy use. Across the complete energy spectrum and in our own operations, Constellation Energy is demonstrating a commitment to environmental stewardship and a clean energy future.