New Constellation Energy includes Quad Cities nuclear plant

Constellation Energy became a standalone publicly traded company Wednesday after completing its split from Exelon Corp.

The new Constellation operates the world’s largest fleet of nuclear power plants, including the Quad Cities Generating Station at Cordova, one of six Illinois nuclear power plants it owns. “Our 21 reactors are clean, zero-carbon and always-on: an ideal foundation for our clean energy future,” Constellation said in a news release.

“To summarize this, Exelon split into two companies today, with the utilities (e.g. ComEd, which delivers power over its wires) remaining part of Exelon and the power generation and wholesale/retail energy business now called Constellation,” Paul Adams, Constellation’s senior manager of external communications, said Wednesday.

Constellation is trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “CEG.” Constellation’s stock price as of mid-morning Thursday was $53.64, up from $53.01 at Wednesday’s close. Exelon was at $43.30, up from a $42.86 close Wednesday. Constellation, a new Fortune 200 company headquartered in Baltimore, will operate in 48 states, Canada and the United Kingdom. It employs about 13,000 workers, including hundreds of Quad Citians at the Quad Cities Generating Station.

As part of the split, Constellation shareholders received one share of Constellation common stock for every three shares of Exelon common stock held at the close of business on Jan. 20. Exelon shareholders retained their current shares of Exelon stock. 

Constellation and Exelon first announced the split last year. The two companies originally joined a decade ago in a $7.9 billion merger and operated under the Exelon umbrella. Among the subsidiaries of Exelon, headquartered in the Chicago area, was Constellation Energy Group, which was founded in 1999.

With the separation, the spinoff Exelon now serves a large, mainly urban, service area in Delaware; Washington, D.C.; Illinois; Maryland; New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Chicago-based Commonwealth Edison, for example, remains under the Exelon umbrella.

“While ComEd’s logo will change over time, we want to assure families and businesses in Chicago and northern Illinois that we are committed to being the trusted energy provider they’ve known for years,” ComEd CEO Gil Quiniones said Wednesday on Exelon’s website.

This week’s Constellation-Exelon split follows a number of large energy company breakups in recent years. Now that the separation is complete, Constellation said it becomes the nation’s largest carbon-free energy producer and leading supplier of clean energy solutions to millions of homes and businesses.

“The future health and prosperity of our nation is inextricably linked to our success in eliminating carbon pollution, and our entire focus will be on helping our customers and communities achieve that goal,” said Joseph Dominguez, CEO of Constellation. 

“Our clean generation fleet and leading customer-facing platform are the foundation on which we will sustain and grow our business. Today begins an exciting transition for our company and employees as we affirm our mission to accelerate the transition to a carbon-free future and advance economic progress and equity in the communities we serve.”

Constellation said it also is looking to grow the company by acquiring “clean energy assets, creating clean hydrogen using its nuclear fleet, introducing new products and services for business customers or leveraging the generation fleet for repowering, co-location of data centers and other opportunities.”

Christopher Crane, president and CEO of Exelon, called the split “an important milestone in Exelon’s history. With the successful completion of our separation, we step forward in a strong position to serve customer needs, drive growth and social equity in the communities we serve, and deliver sustainable value as our industry continues to evolve.” 

 “As we look to the future, we will advance our core business strategies to meet unique customer and community priorities. We will continue to invest in and modernize the grid for safe, clean and affordable energy choices, a world-class customer experience and more equitable communities,” he said.

Constellation also calls itself the leading supplier of sustainable energy solutions to millions of residential, public sector and business customers, including three-fourths of Fortune 100 companies. The generation fleet “powers more than 20 million homes and businesses and is helping to accelerate the nation’s transition to clean energy with more than 32,400 megawatts of capacity and annual output that is nearly 90% carbon-free,” the company said.

Constellation said its “world-class operations” include a nuclear energy fleet that has run over 94% of the time since 2013, which is 4% better than the industry average, and had a 2020 refueling outage duration of 22 days – 11 days below the industry average. The resulting increase in carbon-free electricity is the equivalent of taking more than 1.1 million passenger cars off the road each year, based on Environmental Protection Agency emissions data.”

The company’s current strategy to accelerate the nation’s response to the climate crisis includes a commitment to a carbon-free future through its fleet of nuclear, hydro, wind and solar generation facilities. That fleet currently provides 10% of all clean power on the grid in the United States.

“With leading scientists and policymakers in agreement that nuclear (power) is critical to meeting the nation’s climate goals, the company’s fleet has the potential for second license renewals that will extend the life of nuclear stations to 80 years,” the news release said.

The Quad Cities Generating Station is licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission through 2032.

Constellation’s ambitious climate goals include:

  • Achieving 95% carbon-free electricity by 2030.
  • Achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040
  • Achieving a 100% reduction of operations-driven emissions by 2040
  • Providing 100% of our business customers with customized data to help them reduce their own carbon footprints.
    At the same time, Constellation also pledged to “remain a strong supporter of its communities through workforce development programs, philanthropy, volunteerism and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, while maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance.”

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