Environmental Stewardship & Impact

Supporting the Environment

Constellation is leading the nation’s response to the climate crisis by operating the nation’s largest fleet of zero-emission generation resources and in providing sustainable solutions to millions of homes and businesses. We also support the environment every day through our business culture that prioritizes operational efficiency, resource stewardship, community partnerships, and investments in the future. Our approach is critical to managing risks, maintaining climate resilience, and mitigating any potential environmental impacts.

The pace at which the nation moves towards carbon neutrality will impact climate conditions for future generations. The environmental changes that are occurring as a result of past carbon pollution will continue for decades to come due to these emissions’ long life in the atmosphere. As a result, we need to both eliminate future GHG emissions and prepare for the unavoidable climate effects that are already occurring.

At Constellation, managing climate impacts and risks is an integral part of our business. We are proud of our established record as a leading provider of non-emitting energy and a strong advocate for climate adaptation and mitigation. This includes generating 10 percent of the nation’s carbon-free energy. All told, our fleet of nuclear, wind, solar, hydro and natural gas generating facilities is helping to accelerate the nation’s transition to clean energy with output that is nearly 90 percent carbon-free. In addition, the Constellation fleet produced 161 million megawatt hours of clean electricity in 2020, enough to power 14.6 million homes and avoid more than 78 million metric tons of carbon emissions. The reduction of carbon released is the equivalent of emissions from 62 million gasoline-powered cars on the road.

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Air emissions, including those that contribute to ground-level ozone and particulates, can negatively affect public health and the environment. That’s why Constellation is committed to operating a low-emission intensity energy portfolio to minimize air emissions as we meet the nation’s electricity needs.

In 2020, our owned-generation portfolio emission rates for nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon dioxide (CO2) were significantly below the latest available electric generation industry averages, as illustrated below. 

Constellation does not own any coal-fired generation facilities, having divested more than 2,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity since 2010.

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Much of Constellation’s business depends on access to reliable and adequate water supplies. Water is essential to produce electricity—it drives our hydroelectric facilities and cools our thermal generation stations.

We recognize that water is a shared resource that is critical to communities, economic development, and wildlife, and we work to minimize our impact while preserving the long-term viability of this important resource.

We address site-specific, water-related management practices and risks and collaborate with relevant stakeholders at the local level, which helps us to identify and address specific water challenges most effectively.

As we look toward the future, we anticipate that water access will be a key challenge for Constellation and many other businesses globally. Water scarcity is a critical risk for our industry, and may be exacerbated by the effects of the climate crisis. Changing weather patterns and growing competition for existing resources make effective water management increasingly essential. Constellation is continually working to define the scope of this issue, including by conducting climate scenario analyses, to refine our strategies.

As the largest nuclear power plant operator in the United States, nuclear safety is a fundamental element of Constellation’s business culture and our license to operate. Our nuclear fleet has one of the best safety records in the industry.

We diligently manage nuclear byproducts—both low-level radioactive material and spent nuclear fuel—safely, securely, and responsibly. We ensure we remain in compliance with the stringent requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Learn more about our culture of safety here.

Our operational footprint encompasses large regions of land with diverse flora and fauna that also border a variety of waterbodies. We embrace our responsibility to protect wildlife and habitats and work to strengthen the health and awareness of the surrounding biodiversity through partnerships with experts, environmental organizations, and regulatory agencies. These efforts include collaborating on a variety of studies and providing educational opportunities for employees and community members through our Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) certified sites.

Constellation has a longstanding relationship with the WHC to restore and enhance wildlife habitats at our facilities. Constellation has been a member of the WHC for over 15 years, with a total of 15 sites certified by WHC. The WHC certification program provides us with guidance and objective oversight for creating and maintaining high-quality wildlife habitats, as well as implementing environmental education programs. Our work encompasses restoration of fragile ecosystems, control of invasive species, enhancement of pollinator habitat, and partnerships with NGOs to build a community of leaders. In addition, 14 locations or programs have National Wildlife Federation (NWF) habitat certifications. To learn more about the WHC and NWF, visit www.wildlifehc.org and www.nwf.org

Constellation has worked to restore migratory species passage for many years along the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania and Maryland, where we operate the Conowingo Hydroelectric Project and the Muddy Run Pumped Storage Project.

  • Habitat Improvement Projects: Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection 401 Water Quality Certificate for the Muddy Run Pumped Storage Project, Constellation provides annual funding to the Lancaster County Conservation District, York County Conservation District, and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for the implementation of agricultural pasture and barnyard best-management practices to address sediment introduction and provide for other habitat improvement projects, such as stream restoration. Projects supported in 2020 included the installation of 46 stream habitat improvement structures, 10,439 feet of streambank protection, and planting over one half of an acre of riparian forest in York County, Pennsylvania.
  • American Shad: This species is a source of concern for resource agencies due to a decline in the population since the late 1800s. This decline occurs in rivers both with and without dams. Since the early 1970s, Constellation and our predecessor companies operating the Conowingo Hydroelectric Project have facilitated migration of American shad within the Susquehanna River Basin. In addition to American shad, Conowingo’s East Fish Lift also passes other migratory species of fish, such as alewife, blueback herring, hickory shad, and gizzard shad, along with several resident fish species. In 2020, 17 species of fish passed through the EFL for a total of 49,469 fish, including the 485 American shad. That year represented the 30th season of fish passage operations and the 24th year of volitional fish passage at the Conowingo EFL.
  • American Eel: We continue our coordination of the Eel Passage Advisory Group in support of the commitments established in the Eel Management Plan of the Pennsylvania 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) finalized in December 2014 for the Muddy Run Pumped Storage Project FERC license. As required by the Pennsylvania WQC, Constellation installed a permanent eel trap consisting of one collection tank, three holding tanks, and one ramp at Conowingo, beginning operation on May 1, 2017. Constellation also operates a permanent eel trapping facility in the Octoraro Creek watershed. At Octoraro Creek, 3,597 eels were collected and transported to holding tanks at Conowingo. The Conowingo site collected 254,651 eels. In total, 255,889 eels from both sites were transported and released at upstream stocking sites in 2020.