IEA: US needs clarity on nuclear, carbon capture

The U.S. needs to provide greater clarity on long-term electricity policies including nuclear and renewable sources, according to a new report.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its 2014 review of U.S. energy strategy and deployment that while the country has boosted more environmentally friendly sources, gaps remain.


"Specifically, there is a concern that competitive electricity markets may not trigger investments in large, high-fixed-cost investments with long lead times, such as nuclear, carbon capture and storage, and large renewable portfolio projects,” the report states.

Notably, the political climate to push carbon capture development is not favorable in the U.S. A majority of Republicans argue the industry is not ready to use carbon capture and that forcing sources to do so could hurt the economy and jobs.

IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said at an event in Washington on Thursday that more coordination and “clarity” is also needed to integrate more renewables and understand the “future of nuclear power.”

Van der Hoeven expressed concern that a number of the plants across the U.S. are aging, a point raised in the report.

"There is a need, therefore, to develop and articulate a clear strategy for nuclear power, including a statement of how the federal government will provide long-term support," the report states.

"Given the long lead times for construction and the declining share of nuclear power in the energy mix, these considerations should be concluded quickly,” it adds.