Understanding the Concept of Energy Systems in Transition 

Profile Markets: Development Case Studies

The EMA Initiative provides the framework for accelerating the Clean Energy Transition through case study analyses that are economic, sustainable, adaptable, and resilient. Chosen profile markets represent a variety of priorities and considerations. Building on insights to understand what equals “value” and refining our approach are the goals of our analyses.

Starting with Wyoming and Alaska, we are developing our analysis approach and building a library of profile markets that will serve as a compass for future efforts and analyses. Wyoming and Alaska provide key insights for us to study indigenous, remote, rural, and lack of grid infrastructure issues in-depth.  This will provide applicable insights to other markets.

We use our knowledge to influence clean energy transitions through targeted research, communications, policy and outreach. We conceptualize energy systems consisting of innovative nuclear and other energy technologies (producing electricity and non-electricity products) in synergy with renewable and energy storage technologies. We seek to identify initiatives that can emerge, adapt, and take advantage of energy market windows of opportunity to diffuse and reshape the energy landscape.

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Profile Market: Net-Zero Based Energy Production and Manufacturing Center

An energy center is sited at a retiring coal power plant in a coal producing region (e.g., Wyoming) to transform the local/regional economy into a center for advanced production and manufacturing. The energy center may be jointly owned by industry participants as an embedded energy source to produce high-margin products including polymers, ceramics, specialty finished steel products, and broader chemicals sectors. Clean energy sources including microreactors (20-50 MWth) are incrementally provisioned to scale with increased industrial production of specialty products and equipment. The energy center supports U.S. transitions to low-carbon and global policy shifts for export of high-value, low-emission products, thus avoiding carbon export tariffs (e.g., border carbon adjustments).

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Profile Market: Anchor Institution/Commercial Shared Microreactor-Based Energy Center

An energy center is sited on or near an anchor institution or facility (e.g., secured federal facility) that is the primary customer for the energy to support critical operations. Excess energy is shared with nearby commercial operations and private users. The energy center consists of a microreactor scaled for commercial applications, with a typical capacity of 5 to 40 MWe. In addition to electricity, the energy Center could also produce non-electric products (e.g., district heat), link to a secure microgrid, and balance variable energy sources. The Energy Center would typically replace (or supplement) fossil power, particularly for heat (diesel, fuel oil and propane). Backup generators (diesel) will continue as a backup to the microreactor. Renewable energy (wind and solar) with energy storage can provide a share (up to 25%) of the energy.

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Profile Market: Mineral Extraction and Processing Microreactor-Based Energy Center

An energy center is sited near a remote mine as the primary energy source for non-fossil mining and processing (e.g., zinc, precious metals, soda ash, aluminum, trona, rare earth elements, etc.). The energy center may be owned by a native corporation (or other entity) and consists of a microreactor scaled for the application, with a typical capacity of 20 to 40 MWe. The energy center could also support hydrogen production for energy storage and fuel for transportation, and heat for operations. The energy center would typically replace coal-based energy sources and diesel, fuel oil and propane used in electric backup generators and for heating. The microreactor could be moved to new mine site as economic and diminishing mineral resources necessitate during the reactor operating life of 40 years.