Nuclear Energy, Texas and the EPA Clean Power Plan
Utilities in the state of Texas operate two twin units at the South Texas Project in Matagorda County, Texas, south of Houston and at the Commanche Peak plant south of Ft. Worth. Together they generate 60% of the state's carbon-free electricity, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, and produce 10% of the state's electricity.
The Energy Information Agency forecasts that electricity demand will increase by 24% in Texas over the next 20 years. Utilities in Texas had planned to expand nuclear generation, however, Fukushima and the large quantities of inexpensive natural gas available has delayed several of these projects.
Meanwhile, the final EPA Clean Power Plan (CPP), released in August 2015, has set emission reductions goals of 33% for the state of Texas on the assumption that coal generation will likely be replaced by more renewable technologies. Texas, along with 15-20 other states, is contesting the CPP on the grounds that reducing carbon emissions from the power sector will pose an economic burden on the state's electricity consumers.
At this event, the fourth in a series, industry and policy experts engaged in spirited conversation on the burning questions facing the industry and the future of nuclear energy.
Robert Bryce, Author and Journalist; Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute
Former Senator Evan Bayh, Partner, McGuireWoods
Cris Eugster, EVP & Chief Generation & Strategy Officer, CPS Energy
John Hays, Adjunct Professor of Energy Law, University of Texas, Austin
- Larry Weis, General Manager, Austin Energy
- Chris Gadomski, Head of Research, Nuclear, Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Key Areas of Discussion
- What role can nuclear energy play in a Texas EPA CPP compliance strategy that calls for a drastic reduction in emissions and leaves the consumer with burdensome electricity cost increases?
- To what degree will low natural gas prices, the EPA CPP, and energy policy challenge the economics of nuclear reactors?
- Given recently announced closures of nuclear power plants in the northeast, are regional reactors in Texas also at risk?