How ComEd's grid supports clean energy investments across northern Illinois

If there's a business or community development project underway in northern Illinois, chances are that ComEd is involved.

That's because, as the electric company serving 9 million people in the region, ComEd plays a crucial role in powering grid infrastructure needed to reliably serve homes and businesses to meet the needs in our daily lives.

And that's not all. These days, ComEd plays an increasingly important role in large companies' decisions to build, expand or hire more people, as reliable power availability is a vital factor in today's digital economy.

A shift to a cleaner energy future is underway, thanks the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), a landmark law that makes Illinois one of the first states to transition its power sector completely away from fossil fuels. The law seeks to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, use of renewable energy like solar and wind, and training needed to build up a skilled workforce needed to support clean energy technologies.

This transition will place new demands on the grid, and ComEd is preparing to meet the evolving needs of our customers, large and small, across industries, and throughout all our communities. We're focused on continuing to deliver reliable service while helping customers achieve their sustainability goals.

In the past decade, we have achieved record levels of reliability - meaning fewer and shorter outages than ever before. In fact, through investments in our smart grid, we've improved performance by 80 percent and avoided 19 million outages, achieving over $3 billion in societal cost savings.

As our performance has improved, our customer bills remain among the most competitive in the Midwest, with ComEd customers paying lower rates than those in other major metro areas. Our customers have also benefitted from more than $7 billion in savings due to ComEd's energy efficiency program since 2008. And recent federal and state actions create more rebates and incentives to fund new energy efficiency retrofits, residential and fleet electrification, solar expansion and other clean energy projects in the years ahead.

ComEd's competitive pricing, reliability and access to clean power is helping drive more investment here every year. ComEd has worked with customers who are investing throughout our service area, including data centers and other large-scale projects in the past five years alone expected to leverage $10 billion in local investment, not to mention the creation of thousands of new jobs.

It's no longer enough for the grid to just keep the lights on - we have to lay the groundwork for a system that connects all customers to the benefits of decarbonized energy, a top priority recognized in our new ComEd 2030 company vision. We've outlined our plans to ready the grid to enable millions of electric vehicles, thousands of clean energy resources, like solar power and innovations like electric heat pumps, all while increasing the grid's resiliency so it can withstand the impact of more severe weather events, as well as cyber security threats.

These bold plans for the future are expected to yield numerous benefits for the region: improving air quality, catalyzing significant new economic opportunities for businesses and suppliers, and creating family-sustaining careers. And we're committed to ensuring these benefits are shared equitably.

Clean energy has and will continue to play a pivotal role in the Illinois economy. The future is here - and ComEd is committed to helping customers reap the benefits of a cleaner, safer and more vibrant future for years to come.

• Louie Binswanger is Senior Vice President, Governmental, Regulatory and External Affairs for ComEd.

Louie Binswanger
Cloud HQ data center in Mount Prospect (groundbreaking) Photo courtesy of ComEd
Rainy Solar community solar project in Elgin Photo courtesy of ComEd
Photo illustration courtesy of ComEd-Cloud HQ data center in Mount Prospect (rendering)
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