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New Energy World
New Energy World embraces the whole energy industry as it connects and converges to address the decarbonisation challenge. It covers progress being made across the industry, from the dynamics under way to reduce emissions in oil and gas, through improvements to the efficiency of energy conversion and use, to cutting-edge initiatives in renewable and low carbon technologies.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are gaining the attention of governments and power providers across the world because of their low carbon and potentially low capital cost attributes. Yet the champions of the SMR must work hard to ensure its full potential is reached, write Daniel Garton, Richard Hill, Andrew McDougall QC, Kirsten Odynski, Dipen Sabharwal QC and Vit Stehlik from law firm White & Case.
Governments around the world face increasing pressure to replace fossil fuel power generation. The provision of affordable and clean energy is one of 17 United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, and at least 80% of the world’s electricity must be low carbon by 2050 — by which point the world’s energy consumption is expected to have more than doubled — to have a realistic chance of keeping warming within 2°C of pre-industrial levels.
Nuclear plants clearly have a role to play here. They have a small environmental footprint and keep air clean, requiring only a small amount of fuel compared to gas or coal while taking up a fraction of the space needed for wind and solar farms. In fact, a report published last year by one of the UN’s own bodies – the Economic Commission for Europe – has argued for the crucial role nuclear power can play in the transition to a clean energy future.
The burning of fossil fuels is still the dominant source for global power, with the sector accounting for approximately one third of global emissions. While the role of renewable energy generation has risen exponentially in recent years, the inability of solar and wind to deliver reliable baseload generation means that many countries still rely on fossil fuels to fulfil that role.