Among other things, this legislation would push the government to purchase power from an advanced reactor project, which would help to achieve demonstration of new dispatchable sources of low-carbon energy. The urgency of climate change demands development of all clean energy sources, and NELA will help the United States to make progress in advanced reactor demonstration.
NELA also extends the federal government’s authority to purchase power for longer periods. The current statutory limit of 10 years does not align well with loan repayment periods (typically 20 or 30 years or longer) for new power plant projects, and this new authority could help to bring online more low carbon projects with the federal government as the customer.
NELA also establishes advanced reactor goals to focus efforts at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to ensure that the DOE does not engage in endless R&D at the national laboratories. Demonstrating new technologies will require construction of new facilities and this should be the ultimate goal for DOE efforts.
CATF commends the bills original sponsors Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Cory Booker, as well as a bi-partisan group of more than a dozen co-sponsors, in introducing NELA today.