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ComEd Awarded $4 Million in Federal Economic Stimulus Funding To Expand Green Vehicle Fleet and Test Impact on Electric Grid

Oct 16, 2009 - PRNewsWire

ComEd today announced it has been awarded a total of $4 million in federal economic stimulus funding to expand one of the nation's largest private fleets of alternative-fuel vehicles and test solar-powered vehicle charging infrastructure as part of its study of plug-in electric vehicle usage and its impact on the electric system.

ComEd has received notice of a $1.5 million grant from the City of Chicago that stems from $15 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding awarded to the city by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under its Clean Cities Grant program. ComEd will use the funding to acquire up to 14 new hybrid and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles over the next two years, adding to the 10 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and 151 hybrids already in use. The company's green vehicles number more than 2,100, which comprises 63 percent of its overall fleet.

The Clean Cities funding also will be used to deploy "smart charging" infrastructure at ComEd facilities that will enable the company to continue studying the impacts of vehicle charging while managing the electric load associated with these vehicles.

"We believe this is viable technology and we want to help ensure a positive experience for customers who adopt electric vehicle technology," said Anne Pramaggiore, president and chief operating officer, ComEd. "Our goal is to enable customers to make more informed choices about how they use electricity, such as charging their vehicles at night, which could potentially save them money on their electric bills."

ComEd's vehicle charging infrastructure will include one station equipped with solar canopies and stationary battery storage to capture solar-electric energy and use it to recharge the vehicles. The utility also will deploy up to 32 public vehicle smart charging stations in the Chicago area, including one solar-powered station. The public charging stations will be located with the help of the City of Chicago, the Chicago Area Clean Cities coalition, and other community partners to ensure optimal charging opportunities for users of plug-in vehicle technology.

ComEd also is participating in the DOE's Transportation Electrification grant program in partnership with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and more than 50 other utilities to demonstrate the performance of plug-in hybrid electric bucket trucks in operational conditions. Backed by $45 million in ARRA funding, the program will help put more than 300 energy-efficient bucket trucks into use across the country, 25 of which will be deployed by ComEd over the next two years.

"We also will use smart charging technology to study the impact of large plug-in vehicles on the electric grid, while demonstrating advanced, automated methods for managing usage, such as time-of-day charging, and aggregate load management for groups of vehicles," said Terence Donnelly, executive vice president of Operations, ComEd.

ComEd also has been awarded $253,000 from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IPEA) to retrofit about 40 of its large diesel vehicles with anti-idling technology in a pilot project that will help lower the emission of greenhouse gases. The retrofits, which are expected to begin this fall, will involve the installation of direct-fire heaters, which reduce the need to idle large diesel engines during periods of extreme cold to prevent the freezing of vital engine fluids.

"With the help of anti-idling technology, we expect to save about 6,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel per winter for the 40 vehicles in the pilot," Donnelly said. "That equates to a savings of about 50 metric tons of CO2."

The pilot will enable ComEd to evaluate the technology in terms of the savings it generates and the reliability of the equipment. The effort is one of 21 projects totaling $6.7 million that were approved under the Illinois Clean Diesel Grant Program.

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation , one of the nation's largest electric utilities with approximately 5.4 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across Northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population.

Commonwealth Edison Company

CONTACT: CONTACT: ComEd Media Relations, +1-312-394-3500