A small Wyoming town is hoping Bill Gates’ $1 billion nuclear power plant could save hundreds of jobs

Billionaire Bill Gates sits on stage in front of a blue background wearing a black suit jacket and grey tie.
Bill Gates’ nuclear power company TerraPower is considering Glenrock, Wyoming as the site of its next-generation nuclear reactor.

  • Bill Gates is considering Glenrock, Wyoming, for his next-generation nuclear power plant.
  • The plant could replace 200 jobs that are at risk as a local coal plant closes, the mayor said.
  • Gates’ company TerraPower is running the project with Warren Buffett-owned PacifiCorp.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A small town in Wyoming is hoping that Bill Gates will pick it for his upcoming $1 billion next-generation nuclear power plant, which could save hundreds of local jobs.

TerraPower, Gates’ nuclear-power company, is considering Glenrock, Wyoming, for its first advanced Natrium reactor, per the Associated Press (AP). Gates has said the reactor would be safer and cost less than a traditional nuclear reactor.

A coal-fired power plant in Glenrock is due to shut in 2027, according to plans published by energy company PacifiCorp, the plant’s owner. The plant, called the Dave Johnston Power Plant, employs nearly 200 people from Glenrock and two nearby towns, Wyoming News reported.

Glenrock Mayor Bruce Roumell told Fox Business that the site could more than make up for lost coal jobs.

“We’ve been told it’ll be close to 250 people,” Roumell told Fox Business when asked how many jobs could be created. “They’ve also said there would be around 1,500 people in the construction phase. That’s a pretty good influx into this area for us.”

TerraPower is running the Natrium project with PacifiCorp – owned by billionaire Warren Buffett – and plans to open the plant by 2028. The Natrium reactor could be a carbon-free energy source for about 400,000 homes during peak demand, TerraPower said in a press release.

Read more: UBS lays out the case for buying these 47 stocks across 11 sectors that are ‘preferred winners’ from a $140 trillion transition to clean energy that will transform the industry

Gates said in a June press briefing that the Natirum reactor, which uses liquid sodium as its coolant instead of water, would be safer and cost less than a traditional nuclear reactor. In October 2020, the US Department of Energy awarded the project $80 million in initial funding, per a TerraPower press release.

In June, TerraPower said in a press release that it would select a town in Wyoming for its first reactor project, and that it would announce the site by the end of the year. Gillette, Kemmerer, and Rock Springs are the three other towns under consideration, per the AP.

TerraPower previously said the project would cost about $1 billion, Reuters reported.

Fox Business said that nearly all of Glenrock’s residents it spoke to were excited at the idea of TerraPower moving into town.

“We’ve got to do something,” resident Deb Schell told Fox Business. “I think it’s the wave of the future. Coal is on its way out so we have to do something.”

TerraPower and PacifiCorp did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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Almost half of all global assets under management are now geared towards net-zero goals, according to a group of fund managers

Students protest in Auckland's Aotea Square over climate change on March 15, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Students protest in Auckland’s Aotea Square over climate change on March 15, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand.

  • $43 trillion worth of assets under management globally are now linked to net zero emissions goals via the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative.
  • 41 firms have joined the initiative, raising the amount of funds managed with an ESG focus.
  • Asset managers are aiming to bring client portfolios to net zero by 2050 under the initiative.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Almost half of all global assets under management are now geared towards net zero goals after 41 more firms joined the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative – a group of fund managers that aim to lower the carbon footprint of their clients’ portfolios and reach net zero by 2050.

The group said on Tuesday it now had 128 signatories that manage $43 trillion of the $100 trillion strong asset management industry, saying that this moved the sector closer to a “net zero tipping point”.

“This marks a fundamental tipping point across the investment sector and a significant boost in efforts to tackle climate change and decarbonize the global economy. There’s a lot more to achieve, but the sector is increasingly on a path to a net zero future.” Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change – one of the founding members of the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative – said.

The initiative, which was founded in December 2020 and is recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Race to Zero campaign, sees asset management firms committed to supporting emissions reductions in the real economy, developing investment products that are geared towards net zero and encouraging clients to invest in a climate friendly way.

Signatories report their progress annually according to guidelines set by the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

In May, the International Energy Agency published a special report that concluded that in order to achieve net zero by 2050, there should be no new investments in fossil-fuel supply projects as well as a series of other limitations, including on the funding for coal-fired power plants.

Amundi and HSBC Asset Management are among those that joined competitors including BlackRock, Vanguard, UBS, Fidelity, State Street and Allianz. Other major investment banks such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and BNY Mellon have however not signed up to the net-zero plans so far.

Earlier this year, HSBC narrowly avoided a shareholder revolt over its continued fossil fuel investments. It later committed to end funding for the coal industry.

“As the world moves to a net zero carbon future, we are committed to playing our part in addressing climate change, both as a business and as stewards of our clients’ assets.” Nicolas Moreau, the CEO of its asset management unit said about the move to now join the net zero initiative.

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg tells Congress ‘subsidizing fossil fuel’ companies is a ‘disgrace’

greta thunberg
Greta Thunberg speaks at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, New York on September 23, 2019.

  • Greta Thunberg said subsidizing the fossil fuel industry is a “disgrace” during a congressional hearing.
  • President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan includes a detail aimed at rolling back US financial support of fossil fuels.
  • The Swedish climate activist said ending fossil fuel subsidies is the “very minimum” the US can do to combat the climate crisis.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg called subsidies for fossil fuel companies a “disgrace” during a congressional hearing on Thursday.

The 18-year-old climate activist testified before a House oversight committee on Earth Day to discuss the impact of the fossil fuel industry on the environment, saying that subsidizing fossil fuels is “clear proof that we have not understood the climate emergency at all.”

“It is the year 2021, the fact we are still having this discussion and even more that we are still subsidizing fossil fuels using taxpayer money is a disgrace,” she said.

Thunberg’s advocacy to address the climate crisis sparked a global movement, inspiring millions of people – including students who walked out of school – to protest and demand action on combatting climate change.

President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion vast infrastructure plan includes a detail aimed at rolling back US financial support of fossil fuels, which would bring in $35 billion to the federal government over a decade, The Guardian reported.

During the congressional hearing, Thunberg said putting an end to subsidizing fossil fuel companies is the “very minimum” the US should do in an effort to combat the climate crisis, otherwise lawmakers would have to “explain to your children why you are surrendering on the 1.5 C target, giving up without even trying.”

“Unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight,” she said. “How long do you honestly believe that people in power like you will get away with it? How long do you think you can continue to ignore the climate crisis without being held accountable?”

“Young people today will decide how you will be remembered, so my advice for you is to choose wisely,” Thunberg added.

Rep. Ralph Norman, a Republican from South Carolina on the committee, said “the left has resorted to fear tactics on climate change.”

Thunberg replied saying she does not want people to panic but instead, she wants people to “get out of their comfort zones” when it comes to the climate crisis.

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16 inventions getting us off fossil fuels and into renewable energy

  • Much of the world’s energy is sourced from fossil fuels.
  • Several innovators and companies have developed inventions to help get the world off of non-renewable energy.
  • For example, the HomeBiogas 2.0 turns food waste into gas, producing up to three hours of cooking gas.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

1. This whirlpool turbine can power dozens of homes in rural areas. It generates energy 24 hours a day. And can be installed in most rivers and canals. Free-flowing water powers up the generator’s turbine. It’s even safe for fish to pass through!

2. The Waterotor turbine is made specifically for slow-moving water. It works in currents as slow as 2 mph…So it can be used almost anywhere. The designers say the turbine is the first of its kind. It’s also safe for aquatic wildlife!

3. This giant flower is made of solar panels. The SmartFlower mimics the way sunflowers absorb solar energy. The flower has a tracking system…Which it uses to track the sun, the same way real flowers do.

4. The HomeBiogas 2.0 turns food scraps into gas! Bacteria digests the waste and turns it into biogas. The appliance can take up to 6 liters of waste per day… And can produce up to three hours of cooking gas. It can even make fertilizer!

5. This floating solar plant generates more electricity than traditional solar plants. The water helps cool down the panels, improving their efficiency. The panels are designed to withstand extreme weather… And are even recyclable.

6. These floor tiles use footsteps to generate electricity. They’re made by Pavegen and can generate up to 7 watts of power per step. They’re most effective in high-traffic areas, like cities. The company even used the tiles to charge a Tesla!

7. The GoSun Grill is powered using sunlight. Reflectors focus the sun’s light rays onto a metal tube… Creating cooking temperatures up to 550° F. The food goes directly inside the cylindrical tube.

8. This panda image is made out of solar panels. China is on a mission to build 100 of these panda power plants. A single plant could power more than 10,000 households annually. The idea was proposed in 2015 by 15-year-old Ada Li Yan-tung. She suggested the design would get young people involved in renewable energy.

9. These turbines make up America’s first offshore wind farm. General Electric and Deepwater Wind collaborated on the project. Over a year… They’ll emit 40,000 fewer tons of greenhouse gas than fossil fuels. And still generate the same amount of energy.

10. The Ecocapsule is a micro housing pod. And can house two people for up to a year. It has all the necessary amenities: Kitchen, bathroom, and storage space. It’s powered by solar cells and a wind turbine. It even collects and filters rain for drinking water.

11. The Saphonian is a bladeless wind turbine. It imitates a bird’s wing or a fish’s tail. And was designed after a ship’s sails. Going bladeless could be cheaper than making traditional turbines… And it doesn’t interfere with magnetic or radar waves!

12. The Hydralight lantern is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional gas-lit lanterns. It runs on salt water and an energy cell. And uses the charged particles in the water to create electricity.The lantern is simple to use… Just a single dip in salt water… And it can give off over 250 hours of light.

13. This floating wind farm in Scotland is the first of its kind. Don’t worry; it won’t float away. It’s held in place by suction anchors on the seabed. And can power 20,000 households for a year.

14. This sewage is being turned into biodiesel. The carbon content in human waste is converted into energy. The engineers say biodiesel can be used in regular diesel car engines… With little or no modifications.

15. This bladeless turbine mimics a hummingbird’s wings! The Tyer Wind Converter uses a flapping motion instead of rotating blades. It’s not as powerful as bladed turbines… But the smaller size makes it ideal for populated areas.

16. This battery can make, supply, and store its own energy. The Eli-Home charges itself and can be used as an electric grid. Solar panels gather and store energy. It’s easily removable and portable, and the best part… You can even control it with your smartphone.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in August 2019.

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As a former oil executive, I can tell you Biden is not at war with oil. The industry has already been moving towards green energy

shale oil workers
  • Renewable energy is the future, building more jobs and economic stability.
  • Most Democrats and Republicans want climate to be a top government priority.
  • Oil company leaders know they’ll benefit from a faster energy transition.
  • Katie Mehnert is founder and CEO of ALLY Energy, an online platform for the energy community. Mehnert is a former global director at BP and Shell.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

As soon as President Biden began taking action on the environment, some lawmakers rushed to slam him for allegedly killing jobs in some sort of “war on oil.” They’ve been keeping this up in a steady, misguided drumbeat. This opportunism isn’t just politics as usual. It’s bad for the nation, the economy, and the world.

Biden is not “at war” with the fossil fuel industry. Society is at war with greenhouse gas emissions. And increasingly, the markets are turning against those emissions as well. 

Rather than fighting each other, we should all be working together. The crumbling of Texas’ power grid in the recent storm – in which problems plagued all energy sources including coal, natural gas, wind and nuclear – served as a powerful reminder

In the big picture, jobs in the oil industry have been falling in recent years. Far from being saved, the coal industry has been facing “some of its darkest days, plagued by falling demand, bankruptcies and job losses,” CNN reported.

Meanwhile, renewables are accelerating. Quartz declared 2020 “the year clean energy started to beat big oil,” most notably when wind and solar company NextEra became more valuable than Exxon and Chevron. (As Bloomberg put it, “clean power eclipses oil.”)  

I grew up as a second generation leader in oil and gas. I built a career in energy, spending time as a global health safety and environment leader at two oil giants. I have tremendous gratitude for the people who built the carbon infrastructure that has powered the world and delivered a huge number of the products that fill our daily lives. However, I’m also part of the effort to move the world into a  new era of renewable energy. 

I’m far from alone in this. In fact, you may be surprised by how much company I have. Despite stereotypes about Texas and the energy community wanting to produce and sell as much oil as humanly possible, many of us want to speed up the transition. I see this daily through interactions at ALLY, our digital community for a diverse workforce in all forms of energy. 

It shows up in survey data as well. In a poll last year by EY, oil executives named “decarbonization and other changes in response to climate change” one of the trends with the “most positive impact” on their company’s business growth.

While certain politicians fixate on oil, Texas has – perhaps quietly – become the “center of the global corporate renewable energy market,” producing more jobs from renewable sources than from coal. Here in Houston where I live, the city is producing a whopping 92% of its power from wind and solar – one of the highest levels of any city in America. 

We also know first-hand some of the drastic effects of climate change. We lived through Hurricane Harvey, a storm experts say was “almost certainly” more devastating because of human-caused warming. My family lost our home and had to be rescued by boat when the Army Corps of Engineers released dams in hopes of preventing even more catastrophic flooding in other parts of the Houston area.

Americans across the political spectrum have made clear that addressing the environment is an essential task of our time. In a Pew survey last year, two-thirds of Americans said the federal government was not doing enough. A recent study by Yale and George Mason University found that most Democrats and Republicans want the climate to be a top government priority. 

The writing’s on the wall. It’s time for lawmakers to read it and stop fighting. People want more green energy, which makes President Biden’s plan to make “the largest investment in history in American innovation” and create “10 million clean energy jobs” so promising.

Those jobs won’t be solely in companies that are exclusively focused on renewable energy. They’ll also be in clean energy projects of big oil companies, which are gaining ground in keeping with the companies’ net-zero targets. In fact, some oil giants are converting themselves into green energy stocks.

But there’s a long way to go. Oil companies can and should do more to join the wave of the future. This will require a burst of new talent, with ideas and innovations to speed up the transition. I’ve even recommended that we hire activists like Greta Thunberg to be a part of the energy sector. Bring them on board, so they can leverage their passion to help. 

When lawmakers trash environmental activists, they’re not helping the oil and gas community. They’re making it harder for us all to find common ground and make advancements together. As Vincent Saubestre, CEO and President for Total EP Research & Technology USA, said in a recent webinar with me, it’s time to end the “Darth Vader vs. Luke Skywalker approach.” In fact, he said, “We welcome critical allies that will challenge us to go further.” 

It’s time for an all-on-one-team mentality. The people, the markets and the new administration are all pushing in the same direction. Let’s get constructive and cooperate to drive an energy revolution. Our children are counting on us.

Katie Mehnert is CEO of ALLY Energy and Ambassador to the US Department of Energy’s Equity in Energy program. She is author of Grow with the Flow: Embrace Difference, Overcome Fear, and Progress with Purpose.

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