Clean Energy Strategy

What is Clean Energy?


What is clean energy? Typically, the term “clean” or “carbon-free” energy is used to refer to the electricity that is generated by facilities that do not directly emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide during the generating process. Though there is some overlap between the categories, clean energy is different from “green” energy and “renewable” energy.

Green energy refers to energy resources that provide the greatest environmental benefit. Most green energy sources, such as wind and solar, are also renewable resources, meaning they’ll naturally replenish over time. Most renewable resources are also clean, but there are some instances where that isn’t the case.



Why is Clean Energy Important?

Our world runs on the energy we produce. Clean energy production allows us to generate the energy we need without the greenhouse gas emissions and negative environmental effects that come with fossil fuels, in turn helping to reduce climate change.

What are greenhouse gases? Put simply, they’re gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The greenhouse gases that get released during fossil fuel combustion are one of the largest contributors to increasing CO2 levels. For example, coal was used to create about 10 percent of the energy consumed in America in 2020. That same year, coal was responsible for about 19 percent of total annual CO2 emissions.

The more we’re able to reduce our carbon footprint and rely on clean and renewable sources of energy, the better chance we’ll have of mitigating the effects of climate change and preserving our planet for future generations.

Examples of Clean Energy

When discussing clean energy, the conversation isn’t limited to wind power vs. solar energy. There are other types of clean energy beyond just wind turbines and solar panels. Clean energy can be sourced through nuclear resources, wind, the power of the sun and even water. The following are examples of clean energy

Nuclear energy

Nuclear energy is generated through a process called nuclear fission. First, atoms are split apart to form smaller atoms, creating heat in the process. The heat that’s created is then used to boil water into steam, which powers an electricity-creating turbine. It’s one of the most efficient and reliable sources of carbon-free energy available in our country.

Hydroelectric energy

Hydroelectric energy, or hydropower, is created using the force of running water. As the water moves, it spins in the blades in a turbine, which then powers the generator that produces energy. Hydropower also offers benefits beyond electricity generation, such as flood control and support for irrigation.

Solar energy

Solar energy works by using solar panels to absorb and trap sunlight. An inverter then converts the sunlight into AC electricity, which can be used to power your household appliances.

Wind energy

Wind is another energy source that is both abundant and easy to access. To create wind energy, air blows across the blades of large turbines, causing them to rotate. The energy created by the rotating blades is then harnessed and converted into the electricity we use in our homes.

Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is produced using heat from within the Earth’s core. The process begins by drilling holes into the ground, which enables steam and water to rise to the surface. Once it reaches the surface, the water is then used to power the turbines that generate electricity.


What are Clean Energy Centers?


Clean Energy Center:  A clean energy center is where one or more clean, carbon-free power generation resources may be co-located with customer load to accelerate the transition to a carbon-free future.

Each of the Constellation nuclear stations is a Clean Energy Center. Our nuclear generation has potential beyond its current use as a baseload energy source and provider of capacity to the electric grid.

At Constellation, we envision expanding the capabilities of these clean energy centers. The innovative clean energy center model will not only satisfy the growing demand for clean and flexible energy but also, in certain instances, allow for the production of clean hydrogen and power DAC technology. Our nuclear plants, by design, are accessible to sources of water, transmission infrastructure and transportation hubs, making them ideally suited to be centers of clean energy production. We are investigating ways to make use of DAC technology, which has the potential to draw on clean generation to efficiently remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere.

The production of clean hydrogen takes advantage of our nuclear generation by capitalizing on the always on stable production of electricity and the heat generated organically by our nuclear plants. Hydrogen demand is expected to increase to as much as 41 million metric tons per year by 2050, a four-fold increase compared to present demand.[1] Clean hydrogen could support critical industries that are otherwise not well-positioned to decarbonize, such as aviation, long-distance trucking, heavy-duty machinery, chemical production including methanol and ammonia, steel production, refineries and even long-duration energy storage. Constellation is implementing a pilot project with the DOE to demonstrate hydrogen production, storage and on-site use from nuclear power through a 1 MW electrolyzer powered by our Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in Oswego, New York. This project is on track to begin producing hydrogen before the end of 2022


[1] REL. (2020). (rep.). The Technical and Economic Potential of the H2@Scale Concept within the U.S.