Exelon Launches $20 Million Climate Change Investment Initiative to Help U.S. Startups Develop Next-Generation Clean-Energy Technology
The Exelon Foundation and Exelon Corp., the nation’s largest generator of carbon-free energy and the only Fortune 100 electric and gas utility, recently launched a $20 million Climate Change Investment Initiative (2c2i) to fund startups working on new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.
The initiative was formally announced at The Climate Group’s “Building Futures” Climate Week NYC 2019 forum last month -- where attendees explored how smart technologies can cut the carbon footprint of buildings.
“Buildings generate about 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, so even small improvements in the energy efficiency of residential and commercial structures can make a big difference,” said Val Jensen, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Policy of Exelon Utilities, who delivered the keynote address at the “Building Futures” forum.
“Our Pepco electric utility in Washington, D.C., for example, just rolled out Smart Home kits for customers to remotely control their highest energy-consuming appliances,” said Jensen. “Similarly, our new Energy Savings for Business initiative helps businesses ‘re-tune’ buildings to correct operational and structural issues that waste energy, such as installing so-called ‘smart’ thermostats that adjust temperatures automatically based on occupancy levels.”
The new Climate Change Investment Initiative is Exelon’s latest effort to spur the ongoing transition to a clean, next-generation energy grid, utilizing the concept of “philanthropic-impact investing” to generate financial return and cut carbon emissions to stem climate change.
The Exelon Foundation will contribute $10 million over the next decade to fund the initiative, which will focus on clean-energy and environmental technologies with potential for wide-scale commercialization. Exelon Corp. will match that grant with up to $10 million in pro-bono services, including mentoring entrepreneurs on ways to access capital, structure business plans, allocate financial resources and meet regulatory requirements. The selected grant recipients also will be able to tap the company’s innovation programs – Exelorate Growth, Constellation Technology Ventures and Partnership R&D – for counsel.
“Exelon stands with the vast majority of our customers who want cleaner air and affordable, reliable energy,” said Chris Crane, Exelon CEO. “With recent advances in technology, these objectives are no longer mutually exclusive. The Exelon Foundation Climate Change Investment Initiative will put us a step closer to a clean-energy future by helping entrepreneurs translate their ideas for reversing climate change into practical solutions.”
Exelon will give special consideration to minority- and women-owned businesses, though encourages all applicants that meet the following criteria to apply:
Their technologies potentially benefit at least one of Exelon’s urban markets: Atlantic City, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., or Wilmington, Delaware. Their innovations must either mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; boost urban infrastructure resiliency; or help cities, businesses and communities adapt to climate change and reach specific sustainability and climate goals.
The 2c2i launch coincided with Exelon’s first day of trading on the Nasdaq stock market, home to many of the world’s leading innovative companies. Just as Exelon is committed to eliminating carbon emissions from power generation, Nasdaq is optimizing its facilities footprint to cut energy use and preserve resources. Nasdaq’s MarketSite in Times Square, for example, became carbon neutral in 2018, offsetting the power it uses with wind power credits.
The new Climate Change Investment Initiative comes as hundreds of state, municipal and local entities are working to cut carbon emissions, boost infrastructure resiliency and better adapt to climate change by improving the energy efficiency of buildings, electrifying the transportation sector and expanding renewable energy penetration, among other actions.
Many markets in Exelon’s service territory are setting ambitious clean energy goals. Illinois, for example, wants 25 percent of its energy needs to come from renewable sources by 2025, while Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia are aiming for 100 percent renewable energy by 2032 and 2035, respectively. Reaching these goals will create more opportunities for entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market.
Exelon serves the largest number of electricity and natural gas customers in the U.S, with 10 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
A Gold Sponsor for this year’s Climate Week NYC, we were pleased to have Exelon join us for the Building Futures event and to have their Senior Vice President, Strategy and Policy, Val Jensen as the Keynote Speaker, who highlighted the importance of innovation in the industry to catalyze action.
Exelon expects to announce its first funded class of entrepreneurs after the first of the year. For more information visit www.exelonfoundation.com.