BALTIMORE (Sept 14, 2023) — Constellation (Nasdaq: CEG), the nation’s largest producer of carbon-free energy and a leading supplier of energy products and services, announced today an agreement that will help ComEd, one of the nation’s largest utilities, power all of its 54 offices and metered facilities with locally produced carbon-free nuclear energy, every hour of every day. The agreement means ComEd will be the first investor-owned utility in the nation to power its facilities with 100 percent clean energy produced at the same time and place it is consumed.
The ComEd agreement follows a similar one between Constellation and Microsoft to power one of its Virginia data centers with nearly 100 percent carbon-free nuclear energy, Together, the two transactions are setting a new standard for how companies across the U.S. can achieve real emissions reductions.
“Matching clean energy production to the time and place a customer uses it is the only way we will truly achieve zero carbon emissions across our economy,” said Joe Dominguez, president and CEO of Constellation. “Following this summer of record-shattering weather, it’s clear that hourly matching needs to become the standard within our industry for the U.S. to have any reasonable shot at reaching its 2050 climate goals and preventing the worst effects of climate change. Our agreements with ComEd and Microsoft show that American businesses want a better approach to carbon accounting, and that nuclear energy is key to delivering it.”
ComEd’s hourly carbon-free energy purchase will match its anticipated electricity use of about 65,000 megawatt-hours, which includes its corporate and regional headquarters, reporting centers, business offices, training and special use facilities and substations.
“ComEd is committed to doing everything possible to help Illinois achieve its goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050, and that includes reducing the use of fossil fuels and lowering carbon emissions at our own facilities in every hour of every day,” said Gil Quiniones, CEO of ComEd. “Constellation’s 100 percent hourly matching carbon-free energy solution provides an important tool to address the challenges of climate change.”
Private-sector businesses aren’t the only organizations moving to hourly matching with clean energy. In a 2021 Executive Order, the White House recognized hourly carbon-free energy matching as “critically important to advancing the nation’s clean energy goals,” directing federal agencies to work together to ensure that 50 percent of all federal buildings are hourly matched with clean energy by 2030.
Hourly matching represents an evolution in the clean energy transition. Today, most companies pursuing net-zero goals purchase annual renewable energy certificates (RECs), which represent units of clean energy produced by a solar or wind facility located somewhere in the U.S. during a given year. For example, a manufacturer in Virginia could buy enough RECs in April in Iowa to match its annual energy use and then claim its operations in August run on clean energy. In reality, those annualized RECs represent energy that was produced halfway across the country at a different time of day and year. Meanwhile, the manufacturer received most of its energy from a fossil plant located nearby.
While the sale of RECs has helped spur renewable energy investment, it has also incentivized developers to build those facilities in places that already have significant wind and solar resources, leaving other parts of the country short of clean energy options. This regional overproduction of renewable energy also causes problems for local grid operators because there may be no way to move the excess energy to where it is needed.
In 2022, Constellation and Microsoft announced a collaboration aimed at addressing this imbalance. The companies developed an advanced software and analytics solution to help companies match their energy use every hour of the day with locally produced carbon-free electricity. Microsoft subsequently became the first customer to use the technology.
“Our work with Constellation is part of what we hope will become a movement for businesses of all kinds to transition to truly carbon-free operations,” said Adrian Anderson, general manager of renewable and carbon-free energy at Microsoft. “We are pleased to see that more companies are choosing hourly matching as part of their sustainability strategy.”
To learn more about how Constellation’s hourly carbon-free matching solution is helping the nation reach actual-zero emissions, click here.