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Constellation Energy Eyes New Nuclear for Unprecedented Data Center Power Demand

Release time:2024-05-10View count:845


Constellation Energy (CEG.O), opens new tab is considering building next-generation nuclear plants on its existing sites to meet soaring demand from data centers, executives with the Baltimore-based power company said on Thursday.
The largest operator of U.S. nuclear energy said it is looking at adding new small modular reactors and other energy technologies to deliver electricity to large load customers like data centers.



"We're seeing interest in developing projects that are on a size and scale that presently don't exist," Constellation CEO Joseph Dominguez said on a first-quarter earnings call with investors. "What we're trying to do is get the contracts done that lay out the gross amount of megawatts that are going to be needed."


Customers of the possible new nuclear generation would fund the projects through long-term power purchase agreements, while Constellation would operate the units, the company said on its first-quarter earnings call.


Data centers that support generative artificial intelligence and other new technologies require very large amounts of electricity for data-intensive computing and cooling systems. They have roused the sleepy U.S. power industry in the past year and led utilities to raise demand forecasts and increase capital spending plans.


Constellation, which also generates electricity via renewable sources like hydro, wind and solar, reported adjusted first-quarter earnings of $1.82 per share, beating Wall Street estimates on due to increased nuclear power generation and tax credits related to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).


Analysts had expected earnings of $1.38 per share, according to LSEG data.


The IRA provides billions of dollars in tax credits to clean energy facilities, such as nuclear plants, in a push to decarbonize the U.S. power sector.


The Baltimore, Maryland-based firm's nuclear fleet produced 45,391 gigawatt-hours (GWhs) and operated at 93.3% capacity during the quarter, an uptick from the 42,463 GWhs produced at 92.8% capacity last year in the same period.


It also saw fewer outage days during the quarter, which helped lower refueling costs.


Power consumption in the U.S. is expected to reach record highs this year and the next, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.


Total operating expenses were $5.3 billion, 29% lower than the prior-year quarter, primarily due to 40% lower fuel costs.



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