Full Title: Environmental and Economic Impacts of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant
Author(s): Dean Murphy, Mark Berkman
Publisher(s): Brattle Group
Publication Date: March 28, 2022
Full Text: Download Resource
Our study of the environmental and economic impacts of the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant in Maryland shows that over a wide variety of potential futures, the plant prevents significant carbon emissions, and it also offers material economic benefits.
Absent the Calvert Cliffs plant, significantly less emission–free power would be generated, meaning correspondingly more fossil generation and emissions. Renewable generation will not fully replace lost nuclear generation; any replacement would likely be partial at best, even after accounting for Maryland’s commitments to substantial increases in its renewable generation. Lost nuclear generation would only be completely replaced with clean generation if driven by a direct policy initiative—e.g., by a further increase in the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) sufficient to offset the lost nuclear generation from Calvert Cliffs. Even then, the replacement would lag the nuclear retirement, resulting in higher cumulative emissions. But consideration of such a policy creates a trade–off between emissions and customer costs: either 1) accept the natural increase in emissions that accompanies replacing lost nuclear generation with (mostly fossil) grid power, or 2) take policy action to require a still greater increase in clean generation than would otherwise occur to offset the loss of clean power. The latter implies greater customer costs to support building out additional clean generation, more and faster than it would be added otherwise.