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Exelon CEO finds customers demanding action on climate change

Exelon Corp. President and CEO Chris Crane said the utility's customers are demanding increased deployment of low-carbon technologies to address climate change.

The electric sector needs to devote real political and financial capital to speed up that deployment, Crane said at the Climate Leadership Conference in Baltimore, Md., on March 21. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Climate Registry hosted the conference.

"If we don't take action ourselves, we become irrelevant, and they'll get there on their own, so for us to maintain relevance, we need to continue to support the direction that our customers want," Crane said.

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Exelon Corp. President and CEO

Chris Crane

Source: Exelon Corp.

Exelon ranks among the lowest carbon-emitting power producers in the U.S. and claims on its website to be the nation's 14th-largest wind producer. The company also has been pushing for states to recognize the no-carbon emission benefits of its nuclear fleet, which Crane mentioned in his speech.

About 60% of generation in Illinois is from zero-carbon projects, and most of that amount is produced by nuclear units, Crane noted. "If we were to shut nuclear units down, we would go backward from all our investments that we made [in] renewables, on our carbon reduction."

Crane said his company recently polled its customers, and he was surprised to find that their top concern was the need for Exelon to focus on climate change and outline where the company's leadership stands on the issue.

Large industrial customers are demanding clean power supplies, and cities and communities in Exelon's territory are demanding and acting on their own to ensure clean power supplies, Crane said.