WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is marking up comprehensive energy policy legislation that includes a renewable electricity standard requiring utilities to supply 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy technologies by 2021. The committee today approved provisions allowing new nuclear power plants and new nuclear plant uprates―refinements to increase generating capacity—to be deducted from the baseline of a utility’s aggregate generation used to calculate its renewable energy standard requirements. Following is a statement from Alex Flint, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president of governmental affairs.
“The nuclear energy industry applauds Energy and Natural Resources Committee recognition of the significant role that nuclear energy plays as the nation’s largest source of carbon-free electricity production. If the goal is to reduce emissions from electricity production, then nuclear energy should be part of a portfolio of options to meet that goal.
“The committee’s thoughtful leadership helpfully incentivizes new nuclear plant construction by allowing new nuclear capacity to be deducted from the baseline from which a renewable energy standard is derived. This gives nuclear energy the same opportunity, along with coal with carbon capture and storage technology and biomass, to be deducted from the baseline.
“The United States faces extraordinary challenges in the coming decades to meet the expected 20 percent increase in demand for electricity while significantly reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. Utilities around the country are diligently working to diversify their generation mix and augment their renewable portfolios.
“Nuclear power plants operating in 31 states provide more than 70 percent of all U.S. electricity that comes from sources that do not emit greenhouse gases or controlled pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act. This immensely positive contribution should receive appropriate recognition in any electricity standard enacted by Congress.
“Including nuclear energy incentives in the Senate energy bill will align it with similar legislation advancing in the House of Representatives and increase the chances for Congress to enact policies that recognize all forms of clean energy for their contributions.”