John W. Rowe

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John W. Rowe is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Exelon Corporation. He was the Chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute between May 2007[1] and May 2009.[2]

Background Information

A biographical note states that "Rowe has led electric utilities since 1984, consecutively serving as chief executive officer of Central Maine Power Company, the New England Electric System and Unicom Corporation (one of Exelon's predecessors). Rowe is a lawyer, and was general counsel of Consolidated Rail Corporation and a partner in the firm of Isham, Lincoln and Beale."[3]


In May 2007, Forbes listed Rowe as receiving $29.82 million in total compensation in the latest fiscal year, with a five-year total compensation of $75.91 million. He ranked 1st on the list of CEOs in the Utility industry, and 46th out of all CEOs in the United States.[4]

Exelon leaves Chamber of Commerce over climate policy

In September 2009, Exelon announced it was quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of the lobbying organization's opposition to climate legislation. Explaining his company's views, Rowe said, "Putting a price on carbon is essential, because it will force us to do the cheapest things, like energy efficiency, first." Exelon is the third energy company to leave the Chamber, after PG&E and PNM Resources.[5]

Exelon's assessment of carbon cost abatement options

In a presentation in May 2010 Rowe outlined that a review of carbon cost abatement options for Exeleon in 2010 revealed that "retiring inefficient coal plants has become the cheapest option" and will have present value financial savings of $165M-$200M." While stressing the the carbon cost abatement curves would vary from company to company, Rowe said that for his company "nuclear uprates are very attractive"

"Most energy efficiency programs still look to be good investments," he said. While retiring old coal plants, uprating existing nuclear power stations and energy efficiency were considered to be below the estimated long-run carbon price of $40 per ton, the next options after that "begin to get very pricey."

He said that Exelon's estimates were that "wind requires carbon prices of $80 to $120 per metric tonne to become break-even", "new nuclear plants require prices of $100 per tonne to be break-even", "solar’s cost is two-thirds of that from a year ago but still $450 per tonne" and "a proposed clean coal project we have seen in the market is now the most expensive option, requiring $500 per tonne of CO2 to be economic."[6]

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Exelon and PSEG coal plants

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[7] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[8]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Exelon and PSEG coal plants

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 92 $669.63 million
Heart attacks 165 $18.0 million
Asthma attacks 1,522 $79.1 thousand
Chronic bronchitis 58 $25.4 million
Asthma ER visits 61 $22.6 thousand
Hospital admissions 75 $1.73 million

Source: "Health Impacts - annual - of Existing Plants," Clean Air Task Force Excel worksheet, available under "Data Annex" at "Death and Disease from Power Plants," Clean Air Task Force. Note: This data includes the following plants owned by Exelon and subsidiary Public Service Enterprise Group: Hudson, Mercer, Bridgeport, Eddystone, Cromby, and the Bergen Station.

Citizen activism

NAACP Clearing the Air Road Tour - April 2010

Bridgeport, CT resident Adrienne Farrar on air pollution in Bridgeport, CT.

In April 2010, Jacqui Patterson of the NAACP Climate Justice Initiative interviewed community members in Bridgeport. Jacqui wrote the following account of the impacts of the Bridgeport Harbor Station:[9]

Bridgeport is the second-poorest city in Connecticut after Hartford, with a per capita income just over half of the state average. The plant is wedged between Bridgeport’s Downtown and South End neighborhoods, which are among the city’s poorest. The average income of people who live within one mile of the plant is just $11,400, and over 87% of the plant’s neighbors are people of color. Six schools are within a mile of the plant, as is the University of Bridgeport (the tenth-most racially diverse university in the country, with over 60% students of color).
Bridgeport, CT resident Audrey Gaines on air pollution in Bridgeport, CT.
The stories in Bridgeport solidified a pattern that has been consistent throughout the trip including high rates of respiratory illnesses, nuisance coal ash, and disproportionate exposure by low income communities of color.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Adrienne, who is administering a training program for green jobs, Audrey whose job in the public health department has and her lifelong residency in Bridgeport have shown the impact of the coal plant on the community, and Craig who has spent the majority of his 59 years in Bridgeport and was able to provide a tour of the neighborhood surrounding the plant.
Craig Kelly of the NAACP on air pollution in Bridgeport, CT.
As we started our tour at the plant, we weren’t able to begin our filming in front of the plant because we were run off by security who stated that filming in front of the plant was a felony offense by order of the department of Homeland Security! During the tour you’ll see on the footage several times where I filmed the plant from afar, including a bit where I filmed the largest mountain of coal I’ve seen yet in all my visits to coal plants. And it is completely uncovered, which is why even now I have coal dust on my car. Craig, who narrated our tour, omitted any indication of filming of the plant when I was doing it, seemingly out of fear that he might be implicated by my lawlessness so watch for the coal mountain because it won’t be mentioned!
Adrienne shared some history of the South End community, where the plant is located, and talked about concerns that have been expressed by residents bout coal soot covering their cars, not being able to open their windows, and not being able to hang out laundry because of the coal ash.

Current Affiliations

Rowe's current affiliations are:[3]

Past Affiliations

Rowe's previous affiliations are:[3]

  • member of the Board of UnumProvident,
  • member of the Board of Fleet Boston Financial Corporation,
  • member of the Board of Wisconsin Central Transportation Company
  • member of the Board of MidSouth Corporation.
  • former chairman of Edison Electric Institute,
  • former president of the USS Constitution Museum,
  • former chairman of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable

Articles and Resources


  1. Nuclear Energy Institute, "Nuclear Energy Institute Elects Exelon’s Rowe As Chairman, OPPD’s Gates as Vice Chairman", Media Release, May 23, 2007.
  2. Nuclear Energy Institute, "NEI Elects Omaha Public Power's Gates as Chairman, Progress Energy's Johnson as Vice Chairman", Media Release, May 18, 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "About Exelon: Management", Exelon website, accessed May 2008.
  4. CEO Compensation: #46 John W Rowe,, May 3, 2007.
  5. "Out the Door: Exelon Leaves Chamber of Commerce over Climate Policy,"] Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2009.
  6. John W. Rowe, Chairman and CEO, Exelon Corporation, “Fixing the Carbon Problem Without Breaking the Economy”, Presentation to Resources for the Future Policy Leadership Forum, National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C., May 12, 2010.
  7. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  8. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  9. "Day IX Clearing th eAir Road Tour - Bridgeport, CT - Bridgeport Harbor Generating Station," NAACP Climate Justice Initiative, April 24, 2010
  10. Directors, Bipartisan Policy Center, accessed February 3, 2009.
  11. 2009 Annual Report, Nature Conservancy of Illinois, accessed June 13, 2010.

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