Climate change: How nuclear can help with decarbonization

You wake up every morning and look at your clock. You go about your day turning lights on and off, charging your devices and maybe even getting in some TV time. But did you ever stop to think about where that electricity is coming from to make everything magically work? Bet you didn’t know that 40% of New Jersey’s electricity comes from nuclear power … making it clean, carbon-free and reliable 24/7.

That’s right, we have three nuclear power plants operating in Salem County and they are the backbone of New Jersey’s carbon-free energy supply – delivering more than 90% of the state’s carbon-free energy. They are safe, reliable, contribute to the economy, create jobs, keep our air clean and keep your electric prices low.

Did you know that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that we must limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030 in order to avoid the most drastic impacts of climate change? That’s not a lot of time.

To get there, we’ll need an all-of-the-above approach that calls for us to use less energy (energy efficiency), use renewable and carbon-free resources like wind, solar and nuclear, and decarbonize and electrify the economy, starting with transportation.

PSEG isn’t taking a back seat. This year, we’ll begin implementing our Clean Energy Future Energy Efficiency and Electric Vehicle programs, and we’ll be coal-free by mid-year.

Let’s focus on New Jersey’s Carbon-Free Three: solar, nuclear and offshore wind.

When it comes to generating carbon-free electricity using solar, wind and nuclear energy, New Jersey is ranked sixth in the nation. These resources – New Jersey’s “Carbon-Free Three” – will work together to help New Jersey to become as clean as we can, as fast as we can … but we need ALL three. Here’s how:

Solar panels
  • Solar: New Jersey is in the top 10 for installed solar capacity. As one of the most densely populated states in the U.S., New Jersey has won awards for construction of solar facilities on old landfills and abandoned industrial sites – returning these long-forgotten spaces to productive use as centers for green energy.
Nuclear generating station
  • Nuclear: The Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants in South Jersey already provide nearly 40% of the state’s electricity – and more than 90% of its carbon-free power – a critical foundation to the state’s long-term decarbonization ambitions.

Offshore wind
  • Offshore wind: Ocean Wind, a 1,100-megawatt offshore wind facility to be built about 20 miles off the New Jersey coastline, is just the first phase of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s ambitious plan to develop 7,500 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2035.

Decarbonization (aka, eliminating carbon emission) from the electricity generation sector is only the first of several benefits the Carbon-Free Three can provide New Jersey.

Generating electricity without generating carbon emissions contributes to clean air and a healthy environment. Emissions-free energy also produces none of the other pollutants – such as NOx or SOx – that contribute to climate change or chronic health conditions, such as asthma.

Clean energy also contributes to the economy. New Jersey’s nuclear fleet contributes $800 million to the state’s GDP every year, maintains a workforce of 1,600 direct employees and supports thousands more jobs throughout the state. Development of the recently announced New Jersey Wind Port could mean even more green energy jobs as demand for carbon-free wind energy grows.

Together, New Jersey’s Carbon-Free Three resources – solar, offshore wind and nuclear – provide significant benefits for the environment, the economy and public health, and have put the state on a path to achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Solar, Nuclear and offshore wind working together

PSEG Editorial Team

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