by Brittany Raymer
Former Digital Writer & Editor
The future for green energy in North Carolina is seemingly nuclear power, according to Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good, who shared her thoughts on Fox Business.
“We’re a big believer in nuclear at Duke Energy,” Good said. “Today about 50% of the power that we produce in the Carolinas comes from carbon free nuclear. … Is nuclear going to be part of that net zero future, we believe it is. But we’re focusing our attention more on next generation nuclear, small modular reactors, advanced nuclear with storage, because we believe that technology is promising, if it develops over this decade. It will give us an opportunity to bring more nuclear in the 2030s, in small pieces, with a small number of megawatts.”
Good then goes on to explain that while the 1980s focused on building large reactors, those are incredibly difficult to develop and also have a history of being over budget, meaning that it might take years, if not over a decade, for companies to recoup their investment in the technology.
However, as nuclear technology grows and evolves, it can become smaller and more cost effective for companies to embrace.
It’s a more practical technology to embrace than some of the other green energy options available, including the eyesore wind turbine farms, especially those that are scheduled to dot the North Carolina coast, and inefficient solar panels. Even by increasing these options, it’s unlikely that they could meet the needs of the Carolinas.
By contrast, nuclear energy can offer a sustainable and efficient source of power without carbon emissions. It’s also remarkably safe, despite some very public instances of power stations experiencing, at times, catastrophic failures.
In fact, one of the John Locke Foundation’s top policy recommendations for electricity is: “Study how to promote the retention of existing, zero-emissions nuclear plants. Their levelized cost of energy is by far the lowest of any source. Their loss would lead to higher emissions and much more expensive electricity.”
For the consumer, the most important factor to consider is cost. As prices at the pump, grocery stores, vehicles and other expenses remains elevated, it’s critical for our energy providers to keep costs as low as possible.
“We care deeply about affordability, because we are an infrastructure builder. We recognize that we cannot keep raising the price. How can we continue to do our work as efficiently as possible, to find that right balance between infrastructure growth and affordability for customers,” Good explained.
This is good news for North Carolina, as Duke Energy has been considering proposals for new green energy under the directive of Gov. Roy Cooper.
There remain grave concerns that the move to relying on solar and wind turbines could result in energy costs increasing by $86 to $95 per month for residential customers. Businesses would see a greater increase.
In addition, there’s also concerns that the reliance on green energy options other than nuclear could result in rolling blackouts during the hottest and coldest months, as the new systems would be unable to keep up with customer demands.
Keeping costs low, but energy reliable, is a key factor in keeping North Carolina on the right track when it comes to following Gov. Cooper’s green energy initiative. It’s good to see that Duke Energy is, perhaps, going down that track.