Combined Green Potential of Exelon and Constellation Remains Modest, For Now

Exelon Corp’s $7.9 billion acquisition of Baltimore-based Constellation Energy may eventually shake up the world of green energy generation, but it could take some time. If approved, the merger will create a $52 billion power generation giant, but much of that capacity comes from nuclear and natural gas. Together the two companies generate a combined 18,967 megawatts of nuclear power across 22 units in the Midwest and East Coast and another 15,000 megawatts of natural gas, coal and hydro power.

While the new company will be a major player in the nuclear sector, the merger does not immediately create a core renewable energy powerhouse. For the time being the two companies appear intent on gaining efficiencies and growing revenues from their nuclear and natural gas power generation portfolio, and neither Exelon nor Constellation provided details about how the merger will impact the development of conventional renewables like solar and wind power.

Currently the two companies oversee 865 megawatts of wind and solar projects that are either operating or under-development. A spokesman for Chicago-based Exelon says the merger does create a bigger platform “to expand renewable generation,” but did not elaborate on how the combined company will utilize that platform. The two companies have so far committed a modest $50 million to develop 25 megawatts of new renewable energy in Maryland; however the method of renewable power generation remains undecided.

Much of the renewable energy activity will come from the Exelon side of the merger. The Chicago-based company plunged into the wind business last summer with its $900 million purchase of Deere & Company’s wind unit. The Deere acquisition handed Exelon 36 completed projects that generate 735 megawatts of power and a 1,468-megawatt project pipeline that includes 230 megawatts in advanced stages of development. The acquisition was a coup for Exelon, which was hoping to boost its reputation as a green power supplier. Constellation’s green portfolio is much more modest. It oversees about 60 megawatts of solar generation and 70-megawatts of wind power that’s installed or under development.

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