Decarbonization Studies

There’s growing agreement among governments, researchers, the business community, activists and everyday people that we urgently need to decarbonize our electricity system and improve the climate. We are in the midst of reimagining how we can produce abundant energy while keeping our air clean, and endeavors like the Carbon Free Power Project are showing what is possible.

There’s been a shift in what we need from electricity generation. Corporations are increasing demand for clean energy, and many are committing to power their operations with 24/7 carbon-free energy, including nuclear energy. Federal, state and local governments are setting ambitious timelines for achieving net-zero emissions, with the U.S. targeting 2035—just 13 years from now—for a 100% emission-free electricity system. As electricity generators and providers, utilities are working to meet changing needs. Over 80% of customers in the U.S. are served by a utility with a carbon-reduction commitment. With current policies trends, these utilities seems prescient. Policies are being put into place to incentivize utilities that increase their carbon-free energy production. And, there’s a possibility that future policies might penalize utilities that are too slow in adding new clean energy to their portfolios.

It's clear that we need to use every available option to achieve decarbonization and improve our climate. A balanced mix of carbon-free technologies like nuclear energy, hydropower, wind and solar can help us reach a cleaner future. Nuclear energy complements these technologies and is available 24/7/365. Nuclear has a great track record – for many years, it’s produced over half of our country’s carbon-free electricity. When we look at successful energy transitions of the past, nuclear has played a role. For example, France had the fastest decline in electricity sector emissions over 10 years by deploying nuclear energy. Nuclear energy from the Carbon Free Power Project and other planned reactors will help the U.S. increase our amount of clean electricity.

Thought leaders, politicians and other prominent voices agree that we need nuclear energy to decarbonize. Investors like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Peter Thiel are involved in new nuclear projects. There’s bipartisan agreement that we need to support carbon-free nuclear energy. Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) said, “I don't think you can seriously talk about climate change without talking about nuclear energy," and Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) agrees innovation in nuclear is part of “the path to dramatic improvement in global climate conditions.”

Scientific studies also support the use of nuclear energy. A study from Vibrant Clean Energy lays out a scenario where we quickly scale up new nuclear – including small modular reactors – so that nuclear energy provides over a third of our electricity generation by 2050, meeting growing energy demand and keeping our air clean. There’s also international agreement on nuclear. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe released a report encouraging increased use of nuclear energy, “Nuclear power is an important source of low-carbon electricity and heat that can contribute to attaining carbon neutrality and hence help to mitigate climate change. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which counts 173 countries as members, affirmed this on a global level. Their recent study said, “Nuclear energy is key to achieving global net zero objectives, working in partnership with renewable energy sources and other low carbon options, as part of a sustainable energy system to decarbonize electricity and non-electric energy production.”

We need to reimagine electricity to decarbonize and the Carbon Free Power Project is an integral part of our transformation.