Energy News and Stories This Week: Nov. 19th – 25th

Energy is the bedrock of modern existence. It influences world economies and family budgets alike. Given its societal significance, we publish a weekly compendium of energy news and stories that are shaping global markets and affecting daily life.

200 miles north of Salt Lake City may be the first to receive a commercially deployed small modular nuclear reactor by an Oregon-based company, NuScale Power. The Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, serving customers in cities and special districts in six Western states, are looking to move the project forward with an anticipated date in 2026. While there are already 99 operating nuclear reactors at 61 nuclear power plants across the United States, the small modular reactor differs in size and cost. With features like self-cooling and a built-in defense against hacking, NuScale’s design seems to be moving forward alongside the U.S.  Department of Energy.

Duke Energy is issuing $1 million in grants to the technical college system in South Carolina to expand training opportunities for utility line workers. As utility line workers are in high demand, where The Carolinas Energy Workforce Consortium estimates 500 line workers need to be hired every year for the next five years. The need for education and grant opportunities is great – helping fund existing line worker programs and ensure there are enough skilled line workers available to work

As the Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction has been given the green light in Virginia, local families are seeing new opportunities thanks to the project. Virginia has just a 2.9% unemployment rate, one of the lowest across the country. The pipeline construction is said to add thousands of jobs and provide opportunities to the rural communities, helping revitalize them and promote even more growth.

The holiday season typically brings an “increase in energy usage as many people are cooking holiday meals indoors, decorating their houses and businesses with lights and entertaining guests”, noted Ginger Greenway at SCE&G. One way to conserve energy this holiday season is to turn off your light strands during the day time, replacing your bulbs with LEDs and paying attention to the load on your electric circuit. For more energy saving tips check out the Department of Energy’s guide.   

Financial Analysts at WalletHub analyzed the energy efficiency across the continental United States – where does your state stack up? According to data by The Department of Energy, the average U.S. family spends at least $2,000 a year on utilities, where heating and cooling tends to be more than half of these utility bills. On top of utility cost, fuel is another large portion of the average consumer’s energy bill – up $59 from last year to $1,968.