Today, 2TWe of coal-fired power plants are responsible for almost one-third of global net annual CO2 emissions. 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 will require a new delivery model to achieve the scale and rate of deployment necessary to convert the entire global fleet by 2050.
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.
Our thought leadership, global convenings, news, and media are transforming the global narrative from ‘phase out’ coal-fired power plants to repowering coal plants with emission-free heat sources to accelerate a clean and equitable energy transition.
September 13, 2022
This report corroborates the technical and cost benefits of repowering coal plants outlined by TerraPraxis, including decreased capital costs, reduced energy costs, and increased economic activity. The report concluded that 80% of retired and operating coal power plant sites that were evaluated within a sample of 394 have the basic characteristics needed to be considered amenable to host an advanced nuclear reactor. The study team found regional economic activity could increase by as much as $275 million and add 650 new, permanent jobs to the sample coal plant community region of analysis.
June 30, 2022
This report concludes that achieving Net Zero globally will be more difficult without nuclear and highlights TerraPraxis’s initiative as a vehicle to achieve decarbonization by repowering retired coal plants globally with clean energy. “Various initiatives can facilitate the replacement of coal-fired plants with SMRs (small modular reactors), such as that of TerraPraxis which aims to prepare standardized and pre-licensed designs supported by automated project development and design tools.”
TerraPraxis is leading a global consortium – including governments, regulators, academics, and industry stakeholders – to design a fast, low-cost, and repeatable project delivery model for repowering 2,400 coal plants worldwide by 2050 (hundreds of projects per year).
TerraPraxis developed a coal plant site assessment and business viability application called EVALUATE. Launched at COP27, EVALUATE is designed to help every coal plant owner, institutional investor, and policymaker in the world quickly assess a site-specific business case for repowering, including cost, time schedule, the potential for increased revenues after repowering, job retention, socio-economic benefits and the reduction of carbon emissions.
With these technologies now maturing, the next horizon is about their deployment, which is really a bridge to bankability for nuclear. And that’s to me what we’re really talking about here today, which is that we need a phased approach to the deployment of new nuclear that prioritizes speed to market.
First, I would like to applaud Kirsty Gogan and Eric Ingersoll on their work around flexible nuclear applications, including heating, hydrogen, and repowering coal plants, with small modular reactors. This kind of ingenuity serves as a reminder: regulators must always be ready for whatever comes our way... we need to know and understand what's coming.
Particularly exciting to see that [TerraPraxis] is developing not just this concept but an actual tool that global coal plant operators will be able to use to assess the viability for their own operations.
In my capacity serving as part of the White House environmental justice advisory council... we're working on a project called the justice 40 initiative where 40% of the investment benefits from any coal fired installation… has to go to communities that are around the immediate region and 40 percent of the jobs have to go to those communities as well. Those benefits have to be seen. Over the next six to 12 months we're working on this regulation process... and making sure that we have kickstarter for nuclear...ready to go in terms of equity, in terms of processing, in terms of operation, and everything in between.
Repowering Coal is the largest carbon abatement programme to be designed worldwide
We really believe in this opportunity and so we just said: what do you need and what can Microsoft bring to this?