Topics: Energy, Environmental Compliance, NEMS, Energy Modeling, Environmental Regulation, Energy Policy, Integrated Modeling, Transportation Technologies, Electric Vehicles, climate change, transportation climate initiative
On Friday February 28, the comment period for the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) Draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) comes to a close. The TCI proposal would establish a regional program to cap greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels and invest in transportation projects to achieve additional environmental benefits. The program would cover more than 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from twelve TCI states and the District of Columbia. After the MOU comments have been compiled and incorporated into the proposal, a final MOU will be released, likely in the spring, for final approval by TCI states.
The United States has a long and complex history with regards to nuclear energy, stretching back to the first harnessing of nuclear power during the Manhattan Project through the panic in the wake of the Three Mile Island accident and to today where technological advancements are making nuclear power safer and more efficient than ever before. Despite these advancements, decreasing natural gas prices, a boom in solar and wind power, and a persistent inherent fear of nuclear power in some circles has brought construction of new nuclear plants to a virtual standstill. Only one new reactor, Watts Bar #2, has come online since 1996, one construction project in South Carolina was abandoned partway through construction, and the only active nuclear construction project, Plant Vogtle in Georgia, has been mired in controversy and uncertainty amid escalating costs. Compounding that issue in the nuclear industry is the expected closure of many of the aging nuclear reactors across the country, with almost 12% of U.S. nuclear capacity expected to close in the next seven years.
Frances Wood and Sharon Showalter at OnLocation co-authored a paper that was recently published in the Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) 32 special issue of the journal Energy Economics. The article, titled “U.S. Energy Sector Impacts of Technology Innovation, Fuel Price, and Electric Sector CO2 Policy: Results from the EMF 32 Model Intercomparison Study,” describes results from a joint study with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Policy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – Joint Global Change Research Institute, and HEC Montréal. The study was performed using several energy models, including a customized version of the National Energy Modeling System created by OnLocation.
Tucked in amongst a host of energy credits in the February Congressional Budget deal were several changes to the existing 45Q federal tax credits for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) aimed at making the technology more economical. CCS has the potential to be revolutionary for the power sector, once regulatory hurdles are overcome and the technology becomes affordable to scale-up across fossil fuel emitting power plants. These changes to the 45Q tax credits might just be a significant step towards that goal.
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