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Federal Government uses UPLAN model to examine price volatility in ERCOT

LCG, October 11, 2022--The U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, released its latest supplement to the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) in the Texas market, assessing various possible scenarios using LCG’s UPLAN NPM model, with a special focus on the effects on wholesale power prices and market conditions.

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Michigan Governor Supports Reopening Palisades Nuclear Facility

LCG, September 16, 2022--The Governor of Michigan last week sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in support of Holtec International’s application for a federal grant under the Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) program to save the Palisades Nuclear Facility in Southwest Michigan. The federal grant could result in restarting the baseload, carbon-free, nuclear power plant.

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Industry News

TerraPower Announces Plans for Advanced Nuclear Reactor in Wyoming

LCG, June 8, 2021--TerraPower, PacifiCorp and the Governor of Wyoming last week announced plans to advance a Natrium reactor demonstration project in Wyoming. Several potential locations, including a retiring coal plant site, are under evaluation. A site selection for the carbon-free project is expected to be announced by the end of 2021, with the first-of-a-kind reactor completed by 2028.

The nuclear demonstration project will be a 345-MW power plant that is intended to validate the design, construction and operational features of the Natrium technology, which is designed to reduce complexity, cost and the construction schedule, while delivering safe and reliable electricity. The project features a sodium-cooled fast reactor with a molten salt-based energy storage system that can increase the system's output to 500 MW of power for over five and a half hours when needed. By including the storage system, the project will provide an energy system to better compliment growing intermittent renewable generation resources and provide a more cost-effective solution to achieve a low-carbon future.

TerraPower is a nuclear innovation company founded by Bill Gates and a group of like-minded individuals. Together with PacifiCorp and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, members of the demonstration project team include engineering and construction partner Bechtel, Energy Northwest, Duke Energy and nearly a dozen additional companies, universities and national laboratory partners.

The president and CEO of TerraPower stated, "Together with PacifiCorp, we're creating the energy grid of the future where advanced nuclear technologies provide good-paying jobs and clean energy for years to come. The Natrium technology was designed to solve a challenge utilities face as they work to enhance grid reliability and stability while meeting decarbonization and emissions-reduction goals."

"This project is an exciting economic opportunity for Wyoming. Siting a Natrium advanced reactor at a retiring Wyoming coal plant could ensure that a formerly productive coal generation site continues to produce reliable power for our customers," said the president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp. "We are currently conducting joint due diligence to ensure this opportunity is cost-effective for our customers and a great fit for Wyoming and the communities we serve."

In October 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), through its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP), awarded TerraPower $80 million in initial funding to demonstrate the Natrium technology. TerraPower signed the cooperative agreement with DOE last month. To date, Congress has appropriated $160 million for the ARDP, and DOE has committed additional funding in the coming years, subject to appropriations. The DOE is investing nearly $2 billion to support the licensing, construction and demonstration of this first-of-a-kind reactor by 2028.

Natrium's thermal energy storage system may also provide opportunities for new markets to evolve in the region. The high-temperature heat or electricity generated by the reactor can be used to produce hydrogen to create carbon-free synthetic fuels or decarbonize the oil refining process. It can also be directed to power local mining operations in the area to help lower emissions in the extraction of coal, natural gas, and uranium fuel.

Two other advanced nuclear reactors are also expected to operate in the Northwest region. X-energy announced its plans to site its Xe-100 reactor in the state of Washington, and NuScale plans to operate its first advanced small modular light water reactor system at Idaho National Laboratory (INL).
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