CHICAGO (April 23, 2014) - Continuing its progress toward a clean energy future, Exelon announced today that it reduced or avoided more than 18 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2013, surpassing its goal of eliminating 17.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year by 2020.
The company completed the goal established by its Exelon 2020 program seven years earlier than planned through an enterprise-wide approach that included reducing emissions in its operations, helping its customers and communities reduce their emissions, and adding more clean energy on the grid to displace energy from higher carbon sources. The GHG emissions eliminated by Exelon in 2013 are equivalent to the annual*:
• GHG emissions of 3.8 million passenger vehicles,
• CO2 emissions from nearly 2.5 million homes' electricity use, or
• carbon sequestered by 14.8 million acres of U.S. forests.
"We believe that clean, reliable and affordable energy is key to a more sustainable future. Exelon 2020 has helped us move closer to that vision," said Chris Crane, Exelon's president and CEO. "It provided us with a clear goal, and we could not have accomplished it without the dedication and effective collaboration of our employees, customers, communities and business partners."
The company surpassed its goal through a series of cost-effective investments and business decisions in response to a rapidly shifting energy landscape. By innovating and maintaining a focus on efficient operations, Exelon achieved meaningful emissions reductions across its family of businesses, even as the energy industry underwent major changes since Exelon 2020 was introduced, including the natural gas boom, the growth of renewables and the expansion of beyond-the-meter solutions.
Examples of key Exelon initiatives that helped contribute to emissions reductions and avoidance include:
• Retirement of fossil plants and company energy efficiency and process improvement efforts that resulted in a reduction of more than 9.8 million metric tons of GHG emissions;
• Addition of 316 megawatts (MW) of emission-free energy through uprates across the nuclear fleet;
• Employee efforts, such as increased waste recycling and carbon sequestration projects, that resulted in 2013 reductions of nearly 80,000 metric tons;
• Customer energy efficiency programs at Exelon's three utilities - BGE, ComEd and PECO - that saved a total of approximately 6.3 million megawatt-hours (MWh), equivalent to approximately 3.3 million metric tons of emissions in 2013;
• Retail customer programs - including energy efficiency, distributed solar installation, sale of voluntary renewable energy credits (RECs) and demand response - that avoided more than 1.2 million metric tons of GHG emissions in 2013;
• Retirement of more than 2.7 million MWh of RECs purchased by the utilities in 2013 which support renewable development and meet state renewable portfolio standard obligations;
• Retirement of more than 44,000 Climate Reserve Tonnes to offset Exelon's entire 2013 business travel carbon footprint; and
• Other company efforts since Exelon 2020 was introduced, such as the integration of more than 1,300 MW of new wind generation and addition of 359 MW of new solar capacity, that result in emissions avoidance not accounted for under the program.
Exelon's industry-leading fleet of nuclear power plants plays an important role in its low-emissions profile, avoiding 82 million metric tons of GHG emissions per year. At a time when nuclear power plants face a combination of economic challenges that threaten their continued operation, Crane noted that the Exelon fleet and nuclear power in general remain essential to meeting the nation's climate goals.
"Our reliable, always-on nuclear fleet produces enough affordable, carbon-free energy to power 17 million homes annually," Crane said. "It is part of a U.S. fleet that provides 64 percent of our nation's carbon-free electricity, up to a quarter of which could be at risk for early retirement. Losing that generating capacity would forfeit more than half of the progress to date in meeting U.S. climate goals. Our energy policies must ensure that existing nuclear energy plants are preserved."
Exelon ensures accurate tracking and verification of its annual GHG emissions by conforming to The Climate Registry and the World Resources Institute's GHG Protocol, as well as ISO 14064 standards. Elements of the Exelon 2020 program beyond its primary GHG inventory also were third-party verified for 2013. More information on Exelon 2020 is available here.
In 2013, Exelon was the only U.S.-based utility company to appear on CDP's Global 500 Climate Disclosure Leadership Index and Climate Performance Leadership Index for leadership in reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change. In recognition of Exelon's consistently strong sustainability performance, the company has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for eight consecutive years.
Exelon introduced Exelon 2020 in 2008, with a goal of eliminating 15.7 million metric tons of GHG emissions annually by 2020, as measured from the company's emissions in 2001, its first full year of operation. Following the March 2012 merger of Exelon and Constellation, the company updated its goal to reflect the combined carbon-abatement goals of the two companies before they merged.
*U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator