Bruce Power, an Ontario-based power company, has introduced the first-ever carbon offset protocol for nuclear generation, making a groundbreaking move in the industry. The announcement was made at the United Nations climate conference, COP28, taking place in Dubai. Bruce Power aims to become the first nuclear plant in North America to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2027. This milestone positions the nuclear industry as a leader in clean energy. The company has partnered with GHD, a global energy company, to develop the carbon offset protocol, which aligns with their ambitious net zero target. The goal is to contribute to climate change efforts while fostering economic benefits for Canadian firms.
Bruce Power plays a crucial role in Ontario’s electricity production, delivering clean and reliable nuclear power to families and businesses. The company produces 30% of Ontario’s electricity each day, avoiding approximately 19 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. By helping Ontario phase out coal, Bruce Power’s efforts are equivalent to taking 7 million cars off the road. To achieve its net zero goal by 2027, the company has set interim net reduction targets using a 2019 baseline. These targets include avoiding 15% of GHG emissions, reducing 18% through the use of lower carbon fuels, substituting 36% of emissions for renewable/clean energy, and purchasing carbon offsets for the remaining 30% of its net zero efforts.
Carbon offsets represent a certain amount of reduced or removed carbon dioxide or its equivalent. While offsets have been used by companies in their decarbonization strategies, this is the first time they will be used for nuclear power generation. Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, emphasized Bruce Power’s pivotal role in transitioning the province away from coal-fired generation. The company’s experience in clean energy, financial collaborations for its Green Bond program, and active engagement in Ontario’s Clean Energy Credit program reinforce the importance of credible, additional, and tangible clean energy credits and carbon offsets. Nuclear power offers a clean energy alternative to fossil fuels and provides broader impacts on the grid’s stability. Bruce Power’s carbon offset protocol, currently undergoing third-party validation, aims to leverage clean nuclear energy to meet growing demands and enable consumers and businesses to continue their decarbonization journey through electrification.
Bruce Power plans to increase its electricity production without adding more greenhouse gas emissions by enhancing its systems, making them more efficient, and upgrading nuclear units equipment through Project 2030. This initiative aims to optimize the output of their current assets, with the goal of boosting electricity generation from 6,550 MW to 7,000 MW by the 2030s. The main targets of Project 2030 include lowering GHG emissions produced by Ontario’s grid by substituting some electricity generated by natural gas power plants, enhancing the stability of Ontario’s electricity grid by diversifying the sources of electricity production, and supporting Ontario’s objectives as per the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) guidelines. This increase in nuclear power output at the Bruce Power site will lead to less use of emissions-heavy electricity produced from natural gas in the region.
Bruce Power’s groundbreaking news comes at a timely moment when nuclear power gained victory at the COP28 climate talks, with countries pledging a big commitment to this energy source. The world’s nuclear energy capacity is set to triple by 2050, making a massive contribution to reducing emissions and decarbonizing economies. This global agreement, known as the Net Zero Nuclear Industry Pledge, reflects the surging global demand for nuclear energy. Uranium Royalty Corp. (URC), another innovative Canadian company, showed support for the pledge, which was endorsed by 120 industry members at COP28, including the US, UK, France, UAE, Japan, South Korea, and Canada. URC’s CEO, Scott Melbye, expressed enthusiasm for nuclear energy’s role in curbing climate change and readiness to support uranium demands as part of this clean energy push. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) projected that worldwide nuclear installed capacity by 2030 will reach 496 GW, with North America accounting for 111 GW, making it the second-largest nuclear producing region.
Bruce Power’s introduction of the carbon offset protocol for nuclear generation represents a significant milestone in clean energy initiatives. The endorsement of nuclear power’s net zero pledge by URC cements the industry’s leadership in the clean energy transition. These developments indicate a growing interest in nuclear power across different sectors and unlock investment opportunities for sustainable energy.