Duke Energy Signs Deals with Amazon, Google, and Microsoft to Expand Clean Energy Supply

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The Duke Energy logo is in the background and shows miniature models of electric power transmission pylons, December 9 2022. (OpenAI)

Recently, Duke Energy expanded their clean energy supply. Specifically to lower the cost while helping build nuclear energy technologies and batteries in North and South Carolina. Going more in-depth, the contracts signed, better known as memorandums (MOUs), Duke Energy Inks propose two main objectives: the development of tariffs and long-term energy storage. As explained by The Print, tariffs are new “electricity rate structures.” They further explain why tariffs are important. If used, they could allow for on-site generation at customer facilities, allowing for nuclear energy electricity generated to more than 8.4 million users in the following states of North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. They are also trying to set up a system take-or-pay tariffs. This is made possible with the additional initial agreement deal with Nucor (steel manufacturing company). 

Nuclear is a excellent form of a renewable energy source that falls under the category of alternative fuels. It is much more sustainable and a better energy source for the environment when compared to our energy production stemming from fossil fuels. The U.S. Department of Energy goes more deeply into the actual processes of the nuclear reactor. They explain that the reactor works by breaking uranium (specifically U-235) through nuclear fission. During this process, a large amount of heat is generated. This heat in the core of the nuclear reactor is then used to heat water. Water in the core then goes into another part of the reactor called the heat exchanger where the water and steam are separated. The steam produced is then converted into electricity through a electric generator. It is worthy to mention, that while there are many advantages if nuclear energy is utilized, there are also several downsides that are very harmful to humans.

While reactors are initially very expensive to build, it is very important to maintain the reactors properly. The momentum mentions how lack of maintenance could lead to nuclear disasters that could spread large amounts of radioactivity into the surrounding area. In addition, currently, there isn’t a proper way to store the uranium waste generated from reactors properly. Currently, the uranium is being stored underground or in abandoned nuclear sites. The release of this waste can cause the release of radioactivity. Radioactivity is harmful to humans and could cause genetic mutations and disrupt development in small children. This is why more time and money have to be devoted to making nuclear reactors safer and more efficient. This deal could be a game-changer in the nuclear industry. 

Overall, these initial agreements have increased inferences. Reuters reports that technological industries infer that by the end of the decade, nuclear power will make up more than 9% of all energy usage in the U.S according to a study done by the Electric Power Research Institute. Moreover, there is also inferences about an increase in the demand for electricity. 

Written by Divya Saha

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