U.S. climate change not-for-profit TerraPraxis
has proposed repowering 5,000 to 7,000 coal plants globally with SMRs between 2030 and 2050. The goal is to accelerate the single largest carbon reduction opportunity on the planet: coal. Repowering coal plants will eliminate almost one-third of global carbon emissions, or around 15 billion tons of CO2, to help the world achieve net zero.
Despite international agreements reached at COP26 in Glasgow in 2022 to phase out coal use, global coal consumption continues to hit record highs. Coal remains a key energy source and driver of economic growth in developing and developed countries so simply shutting them down is economically and politically unrealistic. Interest in repowering these coal plants with emission-free heat sources (advanced fission, fusion, and geothermal) is gathering steam but requires a new delivery model.
By replacing the coal burners in coal-fired power plants with non-emitting heat sources, TerraPraxis is designing a system that will enable the continued operation of a sizable portion of the existing power plant – without emissions. Repowering coal plants will leverage existing sites, infrastructure, transmission lines, industry knowledge, workforces, capital, and supply chains to accelerate the clean energy transition. It also ensures continuity for communities reliant on existing power plants for energy, jobs, tax revenue, and continued economic development.
Whether replacing coal in power plants or supplying industrial processes, SMR reactors have the potential to be installed in a packaged fashion based on standardized designs and processes. This should mean they can be deployed more quickly and with greater certainty over the likes of outcomes, costs, and regulatory approvals than nuclear power has to date.
Stay tuned for more information about TerraPraxis Founding Director and Co-CEO Kirsty Gogan’s
participation on the panel “Recommissioning Sites, Reinvigorating Communities, and Reducing Environmental and Health Impacts” at the Reuters SMR and Advanced Reactor Event this coming May