GHG Emissions Set to Increase by 2030

Author: ABB Advisors

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) is targeting a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. What will those targets be post-2030 and what impact will the license expiration of the US nuclear fleet have on greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently, nuclear generation in the US is at 102GW of capacity and units under construction will increase that to 105GW by 2019. However, with the aging fleet and despite license renewal extensions to 60 years, nuclear capacity in the US will decline to 63GW in the 25-year forecast horizon. This represents a 40% decrease in zero emission technology in the US.

Replace the loss of 42GW of nuclear capacity with the addition of 43GW of renewable technology such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and landfill gas one would expect continued reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. However, the capacity factor on renewable technologies is not as great as say a 90% capacity factor on nuclear and that differential is great when accounting on rate based approach as proposed by EPA.

With the retirement of 42GW of nuclear, 67GW of coal which is replaced by 271GW of renewable and efficient gas-fired generation post-2030 emissions levels are expected to increase back to 2023 levels as shown in the figure below.

Learn more by visiting and reviewing the ABB EPM Advisors 2015 Analysis of Energy Markets Webcast.

GHG Chart
Source: ABB