Ask a CELI Fellow: Nuclear’s Role

Ask a CELI Fellow: Nuclear’s Role

Question: What role should nuclear power play in the U.S. effort to decarbonize our electricity  sector?   Please note that these views represent those of the authors and may not represent those of their sponsoring institutions.   Perspectives Fighting Climate Change and the Case for Nuclear Gerard Neely | Operations Analyst, Nextility | Spring 2015 Fellow Over the past decade, leaders from around the world have begun to awaken to the threats presented by climate change.  Recently, this momentum has picked up, culminating with the landmark international climate accord reached at the end of 2015 at the UNFCCC’s COP21 in Paris. The pace of change has also accelerated in the U.S. during President Obama’s second term. The Clean Power Plan, which the administration finalized in 2015, is an unparalleled action in the United States’ efforts to tackle climate change. Despite these important actions at home and abroad, there is much more work to be done if we want to halt the disruptive impacts of climate change. Doing so will require extensive changes to our economy and our infrastructure. In the U.S., the electric sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore a critical area for emissions reductions. Although climate advocates of all stripes recognize this, there are many different visions for how best to achieve a carbon free electric sector. Arguably the most contentious proposition is whether to increase our use of nuclear power, either by building new reactors or by continuing to operate existing ones. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), in 2014 fossil fuels accounted for 67% of electricity generation in the U.S.,...
Ask a Clean Energy Leader: Impacts of 2016 Omnibus

Ask a Clean Energy Leader: Impacts of 2016 Omnibus

Question: What do you think of Congress’ decision to extend renewable energy tax credits in exchange for lifting the 40-year ban on oil exports? Background: Last week, U.S. lawmakers in the House and Senate passed a spending package that includes multi-year extensions for solar and wind power in exchange for lifting the 40-year-old crude oil export ban. Under the legislation, the 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar is extended for an additional three years, after which it will incrementally decrease through 2020, and then remain at 10% permanently starting in 2022. The $23-per-MWh Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind will also be extended through 2016, as well as retroactively for 2015. The PTC will drop 20% each year from 2017 through 2020. Renewable energy advocates view this as a huge win for the industry, securing market certainty for an industry that badly needs it. Some climate advocates view the extension as the bridge we need to ramp up clean energy before the Clean Power Plan takes effect, but other climate advocates worry that U.S. oil production will get a big boost from lifting the exports ban. Drawing on the expertise within the CELI community, we present the various perspectives on this issue from our Fellows who are working on all sides of the issue. The points of view below come from CELI Fellows who are financing solar projects, who are developing policies that regulate responsible energy development, and who worked on this legislation in Congress. Please note that these views represent those of the authors and may not represent those of their sponsoring institutions. Perspectives Why the Omnibus Bill...