Exelon is taking big steps to combat climate change. Earlier this month, the Exelon Foundation and Exelon Corp.—the nation’s largest generator of carbon-free energy and the only electric and gas utility in the Fortune 100—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 marks the Exelon Foundation’s latest effort to support programs that benefit the environment and builds upon Exelon Corp.’s continuing goal to create a clean, next-generation energy grid.
“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 are no longer mutually exclusive objectives.”
By utilizing the innovative approach of impact investing, the initiative will generate a measurable, beneficial impact on 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.
In addition, Exelon will match that grant with up to $10 million in pro-bono services, including mentoring entrepreneurs on ways to access other sources of capital, structure business plans, allocate financial resources and meet regulatory requirements. The start-ups also will be able to tap the company’s internal innovation programs, such as Exelorate Growth, Constellation Technology Ventures and Partnership R&D, for counsel.
The selection process will evalutate candidates focused on a specific criteria, with minority- and women-owned businesses receiving particular consideration.
First, startups must be working on technologies that could ultimately benefit at least one of Exelon’s six major urban markets: Atlantic City, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Wilmington, Del.
Their innovations also must have potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; boost the resiliency of urban infrastructure (e.g., the power grid, transportation systems, buildings, vacant land); or help cities, businesses and communities adapt to climate change and reach specific sustainability and climate goals.
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.Chris Crane, EXELON CEO
Applications for the Exelon Climate Change Investment Initiative can be submitted online at www.exelonfoundation2c2i.com. The submission deadline is October 25. Exelon expects to announce its first funded class of entrepreneurs in December, providing $1 million in total funding to eight to 12 seed-stage startups.
The fund’s launch coincided with Exelon’s (EXC) first day of trading on Nasdaq, which is the platform many of the world’s leading innovative companies call home. 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 all of the power it uses with wind-power credits.
The Exelon Foundation and Exelon Corp.’s new Climate Change Investment Initiative also 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 to meet 25 percent of its energy needs with power generated from renewable sources by 2026, 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.. It has about 10 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania served by its utility subsidiaries: Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco.
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