NEI President and CEO Marv Fertel (left) with Washington Capitals Majority Owner Ted Leonsis at Kettler Iceplex, the Capitals' practice facility, located in Arlington, Virginia.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—To increase awareness of nuclear energy’s role in clean-air electricity generation, the Nuclear Energy Institute has entered into its first-ever partnership with the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League. As an official energy partner of the Capitals, NEI is teaming up with the team to promote the clean-air benefits of nuclear energy to sports fans via multiple media, including signage at the Capitals’ home arena, the Verizon Center, in print and radio ads, and on the Caps’ and NEI’s Web sites.
Hockey and climate change may seem unrelated, but a rising concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is, many believe, creating changes in the climate—changes that are having an impact on hockey. From Vancouver to Vermont, Stockholm to Moscow, the ponds and lakes on which many hockey players hone their skills are freezing later in the year and melting sooner.
“Nuclear energy is an important part of a technology-based solution to climate change,” said Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis. “It’s a proven energy provider in Virginia and Maryland for Capitals’ fans. We are pleased to work with NEI to raise awareness of the role that it can play in reducing greenhouses gases across America.”
The Washington region has long benefitted from nuclear energy’s clean, reliable electricity generation: Nuclear power plants do not emit greenhouse gases or other controlled air pollutants while generating electricity. For local Caps’ fans, 85 percent of the clean electricity produced in Maryland comes from the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant located 45 miles from Verizon Center. In Virginia, nuclear energy produces 91 percent of the state’s emission-free power.
Additionally, Baltimore-based Constellation Energy and Richmond-based Dominion Power are among energy companies that have filed permits with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build new nuclear energy facilities.
“The Capitals’ success here in Washington provides a terrific branding opportunity for the industry as Congress and the Obama administration tackle important energy and environmental issues, all of which will benefit from America’s investment in nuclear energy,” said Scott Peterson, NEI’s vice president of communications.
Nuclear energy is the largest generator of clean-air electricity with 104 reactors in 31 states generating 20 percent of all electricity and 72 percent of electricity produced from sources that do not produce greenhouse gases. For many U.S. energy companies, nuclear energy is a vital part of a clean energy production portfolio that also includes wind, solar and hydroelectric power.
Like the energy sector, NHL players are increasingly serious about climate change. The NHL Players Association has helped its membership calculate their total carbon emissions for the regular season. Hockey players are uniquely qualified to comment on the demonstrable effects of climate change.
“A rite of winter passage among generations of hockey players—playing and falling in love with the game out on frozen ponds and lakes—has been curtailed as warmer winters in recent years have meant less access to skating recreation,” Peterson noted. “A lot of people associated with hockey believe this is due to climate change.”
Capitals’ fans this hockey season will see NEI’s “Nuclear: Clean Air Energy” message prominently displayed near the goal both at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., as well at the team’s training facility, Kettler Capitals Iceplex, in Arlington, Va. NEI also will air 30-second radio commercials during coverage of all 82 games on local radio WFED 1500 AM. NEI also will have video and display ads on the Capitals’ Web site and full-page advertisements in the game programs.
All season long, NEI will provide updated information on nuclear energy’s role in moving America to a more climate-friendly energy portfolio for Washington Capitals fans at http://nei.org/caps. To view partnership-related photographs, including shots of the Capitals in action, throughout the season, see NEI’s Flickr account at http://www.flickr.com/photos/_nei/.