Exelon to invest $25 billion to modernize grid over 5 years
Written By: Stratton Report
May 5, 2016
On May 5, Exelon announced it will invest $25 billion in its six utilities over the next five years to modernize the power grid with investments in infrastructure and smart grid technology.
William A. Von Hoene Jr., senior executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Exelon remarked:
“Customers want tools that give them more control over their energy use and they want leading-edge technology that increases reliability and efficiency, while keeping their utility bills affordable. They also want to help advance a cleaner, more sustainable energy future, and that requires new policy solutions at every level.”
According to Von Hoene, the energy industry is only just starting to realize the broad potential of smart grid and its benefit to customers. For example, Exelon’s Baltimore-based BGE utility completed smart meter installations in 2015 and projects it will result in $1.5 billion in customer savings.
Modernizing the grid also allows energy providers to reimagine how they produce and deliver power. One way Exelon is doing that is through microgrids, which are self-contained, small-scale electric grids with their own power source. Exelon’s ComEd utility, for example, is working with the community of Bronzeville in Chicago to deploy solar and battery technology within a microgrid project.
Von Hoene said that solar, wind, fuel cells and other localized, clean generation will have an important role to play going forward. At the same time, the utility feels that maintaining the existing nuclear fleet remains among the most important policy challenges in the effort to advance zero-carbon energy. Nuclear energy provides about 63 percent of the nation’s zero-carbon energy, but some plants are at risk of early retirement due to wholesale energy prices that are at a 15-year low. In Illinois, Exelon has joined with other stakeholders to develop legislation that includes a zero emission standard that will benefit the state’s at-risk nuclear plants. The legislation is also expected to jumpstart development of solar energy in Illinois and increase energy efficiency programs. A similar proposal has been introduced in New York.