LDRD Seminar Series: ‘Economic and Technical Aspects of Nuclear Energy Competitiveness in the Current U.S. Restructured Electricity Markets’
Principal Nuclear Engineer Francesco Ganda (NE) will discuss his Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) sponsored work at the LDRD Seminar Series presentation Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
“Economic and Technical Aspects of Nuclear Energy Competitiveness in the Current U.S. Restructured Electricity Markets” begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Bldg. 203 Auditorium. All are welcome to attend.
The economic viability of nuclear energy is increasingly challenged in the U.S. restructured electricity markets, as can be observed by some recent nuclear plant closures and discussion about further closing for economic reasons. While there are also nuclear construction projects currently ongoing in the U.S. (i.e., four combined AP1000 units at Vogtle and VC Summer), these are all in regulated electricity markets. The reasons for those challenges are broadly identified with large availability of cheap natural gas and increased penetration of renewables, with virtually zero marginal cost of production. These factors tend to reduce electricity market prices directly impacting nuclear plants’ cash flows and also lead to electricity prices that can change very rapidly throughout the day.
The objective of this project is to investigate a wide range of technology, policy and market factors with the goal to identify those options that have the greatest potential to restore the economic competitiveness of nuclear power in the mid- to long-term. To do so, we have formed a team that brings together experts with in-depth nuclear technology domain knowledge (residing in the Nuclear Engineering Division) and experts in power grid and market modeling and simulation (residing in the Energy Systems Division [ES]). We are leveraging and expanding on existing electricity grid and market models developed by ES to fully understand the market dynamics, as well as technical and regulatory constrains that affect the competitiveness of nuclear energy within both deregulated and regulated electricity markets. We are extending and enhancing these models to allow us to investigate in detail the full range of operational and planning decisions that affect the economic performance of nuclear power. For example, we are simulating the effect of incentive schemes for renewable energy such as the production tax credit, which gives incentive for renewable generators to submit negative bids to the market. We are also investigating the potential revenue streams for nuclear generators from participating in new or existing markets for operating reserves, and the system benefits of having a more flexible fleet of nuclear power plants that can provide load following and operating reserves, subject to their technical constraints.
Francesco Ganda (NE) holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in nuclear engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. As a Principal Nuclear Engineer at Argonne, he is leading the multi-lab research activities in the area of nuclear economics of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Options Campaign. Prior to joining Argonne, Ganda was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied the neutronic properties of water-cooled fast reactors, and a staff scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory, where he focused primarily on the economics of nuclear fuel cycles. His research focuses on nuclear economics, reactor physics and nuclear fuel cycles.