Posted by Johann Nacario — September 19, 2023 — Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently highlighted the important role of nuclear technology and energy in Texas’ thriving economy during a fireside chat with Dow and X-energy at The University of Texas (UT) at Austin.
Texas is the energy capital of the world, but more important is what we are doing with that energy and what it means for our future in the state of Texas. Very important to our state is how we use energy to generate power for our grid. For a state that continues to grow massively, we are at the height of our production during the day, and we generate more power than California and New York combined. But we need more dispatchable power generation. One thing we are looking at with a keen eye is the ability to expand our capabilities with regard to nuclear generated power.
Speaking to a crowd of 70 attendees, Governor Abbott was joined by Dow Chair and CEO Jim Fitterling and X-energy CEO Clay Sell at the fireside discussion moderated by former Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Professor at the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering at UT Austin Dale Klein.
As a global energy hub, Texas continues to support advanced nuclear energy and the development of new technologies through investments in the state’s many leading research institutions. These critical investments will help cement Texas as a top destination for all new technological developments, as well as train the workforce needed to draw more projects to the state.
During the discussion, the Governor also announced a directive (PDF) to the Public Utilities Commission of Texas Interim Chair Kathleen Jackson to formulate a working group to study and provide recommendations that will position Texas as a national leader on advanced nuclear energy.
To maximize power grid reliability, the newly formed group will work to understand Texas’ role in deploying and using advanced nuclear reactors, consider all potential financial incentives available, determine nuclear-specific changes needed in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market, identify any federal or state regulatory hurdles to development, and analyze how Texas can streamline and accelerate permitting for building advanced nuclear reactors.
Governor Abbott directed the working group to also coordinate with ERCOT to begin addressing the technical challenges of incorporating advanced nuclear technology into the ERCOT grid.