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Exelon Corporation isn’t just hoping to get the federal government’s money and help for projects like the innovative solar power facility it wants to build on Chicago’s south side. It’s also been spending lots of money to lobby for them.
The AP reports that the company paid $883,000 from April through June to lobby members of Congress and several different federal departments on energy policy and the stimulus plan. That’s actually a drop from the $1.5 million it spent in the first three months of this year, according to lobbying disclosure statements filed with the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The solar farm Exelon is planning to install on long-vacant land in the West Pullman neighborhood is expected to cost $64 million, $50 million of which the company hopes to borrow from the federal government under the stimulus program. Company officials have said they won’t go through with the project without that loan.
They're also hoping that something comes of the carbon cap-and-trade legislation passed this spring by the House, since it would make solar power far more profitable than it is now. The same would be true of nuclear power, which accounts for most of Exelon’s energy output.
Exelon is hardly the only company that’s had to bank on government support to help make its green enterprises profitable. Last week the CTA announced that it was holding off on an order to buy 140 more low-emitting buses because it didn’t get the money for them from the state. As a result, 70 people lost their jobs with New Flyer, the Minnesota company that was supposed to make them. Just last March Vice President Joe Biden pointed to New Flyer as an example of the growing green economy.