John Rowe Calls Natural Gas a Genuine Elixir
When the head of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, John Rowe, stands up to say that natural gas is our country’s solution for a clean energy economy, Congress should listen. On March 8, 2011, Rowe spoke to a baited audience at an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) event on energy policy. His keynote address described his radically rational economic approach to energy policy for the 112th Congress.
So what is next on the horizon?
In a word, nothing. Rowe explained that he is not here to ask Congress to do anything about energy. “I’m actually here to ask that it do nothing,” he said. “Fortunately, doing nothing just might be an area where a divided Congress can excel.”
Our legislators must allow market forces to work and embrace our domestic abundant supply of natural gas. This will allow the U.S. to transition to a clean energy future – minimizing the burden on consumers, taxpayers, and the federal budget – and will position America to better compete globally.
Rowe, who represents the nation’s largest fleet of nuclear plants, has seen Exelon struggle recently because of the low price of natural gas. Nuclear plants in competitive electricity markets in Illinois and Pennsylvania end up selling power at reduced rates tied to the price of natural gas. “I’ve never met a nuclear plant I didn’t like,” Rowe said, “but we have to spend twice what China spends to build new nuclear.”
That is why he urged Congress to do nothing. America’s energy portfolio is strong right now. And natural gas has dramatically increased the long-term supplies of our domestic energy sources. “Natural gas is already jump-starting the transition to cleaner energy,” Rowe said. “Natural gas is going to green our electricity supply and make us relatively more competitive.”