Nuke-power company Exelon announces big emissions cuts by 2020
Nuclear-power company Exelon today launched a program it says will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by over 16 million tons a year by 2020 — more than the company’s current total annual emissions. The company’s plan calls for buying renewable-energy credits to offset some of its emissions, generating a small amount of electricity from alternative sources such as landfill gas, wood, or crop waste, and complying with recently passed legislation in Illinois requiring the company to help customers reduce their electricity consumption through smart-metering and other measures. The company’s largest emissions reductions would come from making some of its natural-gas-burning power plants more efficient, and (much less significantly) from increasing the output of its existing nuclear reactors, the logic being that increasing nuke output could generate increased power without creating more carbon emissions. “This is a mix of things that any sensible person would do,” said Exelon CEO John Rowe. Exelon has also advocated for a carbon-trading program in the U.S., especially one under which it could earn credits for generating nuke power.