Reaching net zero targets by 2050 is one of the biggest challenges for countries around the world. A Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) delegation, led by the NEA’s Director-General William D. Magwood, IV, recently attended the Global Clean Energy Action Forum (GCEAF), a joint convening of the 13th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM13) and the 7th Mission Innovation Ministerial in Pittsburgh, USA.
The Global Clean Energy Action Forum assembled 6 000 global experts with ministerial-level participation from 30 countries to bring new ideas and solutions to accelerate clean energy use, advance international energy security, enable economic growth and combat climate change.
The conference attracted a number of clean energy leaders including philanthropist and Breakthrough Energy founder Bill Gates, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, and many more.
The focus of the NEA’s mission to the GCEAF was to launch two new publications on the role for nuclear energy in the hydrogen economy, and its potential contribution towards decarbonisation targets.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is expected to play an important part of the global energy equation, particularly to support decarbonisation strategies in otherwise hard-to-abate sector such as industry and transport. However, at present, nearly all hydrogen energy is produced using fossil fuels.
Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy, Dr Kathryn Huff with NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV.
During the week, NEA General-Director William D. Magwood, IV, and Nuclear Energy Analyst Dr Michel Berthélemy had the opportunity to share key findings from the new NEA report The Role of Nuclear Power in the Hydrogen Economy: Cost and Competitiveness. This report explores the role that nuclear-hydrogen can play in the short, medium and long-term decarbonisation strategies. The discussion also highlighted that hydrogen produced from nuclear power is an economically competitive solution.
Having jointly launched the publication Nuclear-Hydrogen Digest: Nuclear Energy in the Hydrogen Economy with the NICE Future initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial, Director-General Magwood delivered a keynote at the joint NEA and Nice Future event Unlocking Large-Scale Deployment of Low-Carbon Hydrogen: The Role of Nuclear and Renewable Energies. NEA Nuclear Analyst Dr Berthélemy was also present to discuss the NEA’s findings for the publication, which highlights 12 projects from around the world and their innovative initiatives which demonstrate that nuclear-powered hydrogen is no longer just an idea, but a viable solution to drive the clean hydrogen economy.
“Today, the potential role of hydrogen to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors such as heavy transport and industrial applications is once again at the center of energy policy discussions. Leveraging decades of research and development and public-private partnerships, countries are entering a critical period to turn the vision of the hydrogen economy into reality,” said NEA Director-General Magwood.
“Delivering low-carbon hydrogen at scale will require taking advantage of all low-carbon sources of energy. Nuclear power is the second largest source of low-carbon electricity worldwide and therefore has a key role to play. As of 2022, 13 countries representing 80% of global installed nuclear capacity have climate strategies identifying nuclear energy as a competitive source of energy to produce low-carbon hydrogen,” the NEA Director-General added.
During the week in Pittsburgh, Director-General Magwood also participated in the session Ministerial Perspectives: Global Imperatives, Local Solutions – Actions to Accelerate Innovative Nuclear Deployment moderated by Founder of Terrapraxis Kirsty Gogan, alongside Congressman Conor Lamb, Idaho National Laboratory Director Dr John Wagner, Nuclear Energy Institute President and CEO Maria Korsnick, and Dr Todd Allen from University of Michigan’s Fastest Path to Zero Initiative. Director-General Magwood also took part in the roundtable Advancing Nuclear Deployment for Global Energy Renaissance Security: Public Discussions & Private Financing, chaired by the US Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk.
“Delivering low-carbon hydrogen at scale will require taking advantage of all low-carbon sources of energy."
NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV
Philanthropist and Breakthrough Energy founder Bill Gates speaking at the Global Clean Energy Action Forum.
In addition to the CEM13 panel sessions, Director-General Magwood joined the panel at the North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) event Pittsburgh Builds the Future of Nuclear Power. The Director-General appeared alongside Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy, Dr Kathryn Huff, and Allegheny County Executive, Rich Fitzgerald, in an event which focused on youth leadership in the global nuclear energy sphere.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Director-General Magwood was pleased to return to his home city that continues to demonstrate its dedication to drive progress within the sector.
“My home city of Pittsburgh is in many ways, the birth cradle of commercial nuclear energy in the United States. The technologies launched here established the success of today’s nuclear energy industry. It is quite appropriate for us to meet in the Steel City with the newest generation technologists to push for the innovative change needed to help countries around the world meet their net-zero targets.”
For more information on the NEA's Nuclear-Hydrogen strategies, visit here.