Washington, D.C. and Exelon Are Fighting a Nuclear War for a Greener Future: What’s the Fallout?
Thinking that it was a done deal, most in the industry were amazed to find that the merger between Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) and Pepco Holdings (NYSE: POM) didn’t receive final approval last month. Though federal government agencies and several states approved the $6.8 billion deal, Washington D.C.’s Public Service Commission, or PSC, unanimously rejected it.
With more than 19,000 MW of nuclear power capacity, Exelon operates the largest nuclear fleet in the U.S. — 22 reactors in five different states. With more than 32,000 MW of total capacity, Exelon delivered electricity and natural gas to more than 7.8 million customers in 2014, earning the company $27.4 billion in operating revenue.
On the other side of the table is Pepco Holdings, which serves about 2 million customers in the mid-Atlantic states. The company reported $4.9 billion in operating revenue for the year.
What’s the deal with the deal?
Attempting to meet the requests of residents who “mandated that the District must pursue a cleaner and greener future that includes more renewable energy resources and more distributed generation,” the commission rejected the deal. It further specified its concerns in finding that the deal fails to help as “the District moves forward to embrace a cleaner and greener environment and pursues its goals of having 50% renewable energy sources by 2032.”
Exelon maintains that it has been an advocate of renewable energy and continues to invest in its development. In reality, Exelon’s commitment to renewable energy is minimal. Of the more than 35,000 MW of total capacity that the company had at the end of 2013, wind accounted for 3.7%, and solar represented 1%. But the lackluster portfolio isn’t the only sign that the company is more dedicated to nuclear power and fossil fuels than renewables.