Nuclear Energy Is Essential to Accelerating the Transition to a Carbon-Free Economy

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 9/18/2023, Location: North America

Constellation, the nation’s largest producer of carbon-free energy, will lay out a strategy for how nuclear energy combined with other clean technologies can achieve America’s climate goals during Climate Week NYC, which brings together climate leaders from around the world for the largest annual climate event of its kind. In a pair of panel discussions, David Brown, Constellation’s senior vice president of Federal Government Affairs & Public Policy, will explain how matching customer demand for electricity with clean energy in every hour of every day is essential to meeting our nation’s climate goals. He will also discuss how the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 and other climate policies are driving investment in clean energy technologies, such as carbon-free hydrogen and existing and advanced nuclear energy, among others. In addition, the discussion will explore roadblocks to achieving the goals laid out in the IRA and other U.S. climate policies, and how policymakers can address them.

“Nuclear energy is key to solving the climate crisis,” Brown said. “The path to zero emissions is possible today if we focus on getting the policies right and removing roadblocks to deploying carbon-free resources and building a robust clean hydrogen infrastructure. We are demonstrating the possible in Constellation’s own operations, starting with our work to prove the viability of clean hydrogen, extend the life and output of our reliable clean-energy nuclear fleet, and provide companies with the technology to meet their electricity needs with carbon-free resources in every hour of every day. These and other clean technologies are scalable and affordable if policymakers create the right incentives and hold industry accountable.”

Brown will be part of a Sept. 19 panel discussion titled “Cleantech: Silver Bullet or red herring on net-zero?” A live stream of the event is available here. Prior to that, Brown will take part in a side-event hosted by the Atlantic Council focused on the role of zero-carbon nuclear energy in meeting climate targets. A live stream of this event can be found here.

Constellation joins Climate Week 2023 as a longtime advocate for policies that accelerate the transition to clean energy. The company has advocated for IRA implementation rules that clarify the essential role of nuclear energy in scaling clean hydrogen production to help decarbonize the industrial sector and other parts of the economy that are hard to power with electricity. If the production tax credit for clean hydrogen in the IRA is implemented as Congress intended, Constellation is prepared to invest up to $900 million on nuclear-powered clean hydrogen projects over the next three years. Most recently, the company also filed comments with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of the agency’s proposed guidelines for reducing carbon emissions from fossil power plants.

During his remarks at Climate Week, Brown will discuss the impact of the IRA on clean energy investment, starting with investments Constellation is making in its own operations. While many states had already reached that conclusion, the IRA is the first federal policy that recognizes that maintaining our existing nuclear fleet is critical to achieving our emission reduction goals to address the climate crisis. Support for nuclear in the IRA creates an opportunity for Constellation to extend the licenses of its nuclear plants by an additional 20 years. Just extending the life of Constellation’s fleet will create as much additional carbon-free power as all the renewable energy built in America over the past 40 years.

In addition, Constellation is investing $800 million in new equipment to increase the output of two of its nuclear plants in Illinois, and another $350 million to increase the lifespan and output of its wind energy assets.

These investments come as bipartisan support for nuclear energy is on the rise, and the value of clean, dispatchable, always-on nuclear energy is recognized by policymakers, climate advocates and consumers as key to the energy transition. During Climate Week, Constellation will announce that its zero-carbon nuclear fleet — the nation’s largest -- ran at near 100 percent capacity throughout the planet’s hottest summer on record.

The company also is breaking new ground with technology it developed with Microsoft to help companies match their power needs with clean electricity on an hourly basis. Microsoft became the first customer of the new technology after announcing an agreement with Constellation that will help power one of the software giant’s Virginia data centers with nearly 100% clean energy around the clock, relying on the environmental attributes of nuclear energy to fill the gaps from renewable energy. Last week, Constellation announced an agreement with Chicago-based electric utility ComEd that will allow ComEd to power all of its 54 offices and metered facilities with locally produced carbon-free nuclear energy.


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