Nuclear industry heats Carolinas' economy
The Carolinas' nuclear energy industry provides a significant economic impact to North and South Carolina, according to a recent study. An industry coalition, the Carolinas' Nuclear Cluster, commissioned the research to obtain a clear measure of the economic effects of the nuclear industry. The total economic impact tops $20 billion.
In the Carolinas, the nuclear industry directly provides 29,000 jobs. The industry has more than $2.2 billion in direct payroll, and more than $950 million paid in state and local taxes.
Total direct impacts are from employment associated with the generation of power at seven nuclear stations in North and South Carolina, corporate nuclear functions, new construction and employment at the Savannah River and Barnwell sites in South Carolina. Researchers used purchases and payroll data from these businesses in their evaluation.
“Residents and businesses in the Carolinas receive real economic benefits from the nuclear industry through jobs, income creation and the multiplier of spending,” says Dr. Scott Mason, lead researcher at Clemson University. “This study not only looked at the impact of the operating nuclear plants but also producers of nuclear fuel, engineering and procurement companies, suppliers and subcontractors, and others.”
The cascading effect of dollars created by the nuclear industry and used in communities is estimated to add another $2 billion in indirect payroll, so that some 100,000 jobs are touched by the nuclear industry for a total of $4.2 billion in payroll.
Growth in this industry can be enhanced with businesses that provide on-going maintenance and instrumentation upgrades in the facilities here and across the nation.
The Carolinas' Nuclear Cluster has encouraged additional suppliers to locate and grow their businesses in the Carolinas,” says Jim Little, a 40-year veteran of the nuclear energy industry who is the chair of the Carolinas' Nuclear Cluster. “These suppliers can provide materials to the nuclear industry domestically and multi-nationally as well as to other industries. Examples of businesses in the nuclear supply chain are industrial supply firms, valve manufacturers, motor and pump makers, design firms, maintenance companies and services such as security and laboratories.”
The ability of companies to sell materials across the supply chain of nuclear and other energy generation sources helps companies maintain a portfolio of sales opportunities and can strengthen a supplier's business position. “The Carolinas' Nuclear Cluster is working to build a strong industry network because we understand this country must have a balanced generation portfolio,” Little says.
“The economic contributions of nuclear energy in the Carolinas have proven to be sustainable – providing low-cost, safe and reliable electricity across the region for more than four decades,” said Dhiaa Jamil, Duke Energy's president of nuclear.
Researchers at Clemson University's Center of Economic Excellence in Supply Chain Optimization and Logistics conducted the study. They used surveys, analysis of public documents, interviews with nuclear subject matter experts, a detailed engineering-based scaling methodology, and IMPLAN (benchmark economic software that estimates indirect and induced economic impacts on a region).
The analysis was conducted by partitioning nuclear industry entities into seven categories: original equipment manufacturers and producers of nuclear fuel; engineering procurement and construction companies; operating nuclear plants; the entire nuclear complex in Aiken, S.C.; new nuclear plant construction; organizations supported by state and/or federal governments; post-secondary educational institutions; and suppliers and subcontractors that support these entities.
Created as an economic development concept by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, an industry cluster is a geographically proximate group of companies and associated institutions in a particular field, linked by commonalities and complementaries. Porter says successful clusters have linked organizations that range from manufacturing to suppliers, service providers and educators.
The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster brings together the nuclear industry, higher education and nonprofits to address important policy and business opportunities in North and South Carolina. The Carolinas' Nuclear Cluster is under the umbrella of E4Carolinas, a not-for-profit corporation that convenes industry, research and educational institutions, innovators, economic development organizations, and public leaders to coordinate the energy cluster in the Carolinas.
Source: Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere