Environmental and Economic Impacts of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant



Media Contact: Jason Martin, Finsbury Glover Hering, [email protected]

BALTIMORE (March 28, 2022) – Today, the Brattle Group released the findings from a study of the environmental and economic impacts of the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant in Maryland, prepared for Nuclear Powers Maryland. The report found that Calvert Cliffs prevents 4 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and keeps electricity prices $47 million lower for Maryland energy consumers, each year. Without Calvert Cliffs, significantly less emission-free power would be generated in Maryland, resulting in the increased need for fossil generation and higher emissions, even after accounting for Maryland’s commitments to increase its renewable generation.

Dr. Dean M. Murphy, Principal of the Brattle Group and lead study author said, “Existing nuclear power and renewable energy can be viewed as complementary clean energy technologies rather than substitutes or competitors. Each has a role to play in transforming and decarbonizing the grid. Keeping existing nuclear plants operating can facilitate the transition to a decarbonized energy future.” 

Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant produces the vast majority of Maryland’s clean energy. The report found its continued operation will be instrumental in preventing significant increases of carbon emissions in the state. Calvert Cliffs now accounts for nearly a quarter of Maryland’s total electricity needs and about 81% of its in-state clean power. Its output avoids approximately 4 million tons of CO2 annually (equivalent to removing about 800,000 cars from the road) and 56 million tons of cumulative CO2 emissions by 2040. 

The clean energy generated by Calvert Cliffs can prevent $2.5 billion (net present value) in damages from carbon emissions associated with the increased fossil generation that would be needed to replace its output. Additionally, the loss of Calvert Cliffs would cause Maryland’s reliance on energy imports from out of state to grow from almost 40% to nearly 60%. The study also found that replacing Calvert Cliffs carbon-free output with solar would require 35,000 acres —about four times the area of Rockville. 

Calvert Cliffs was also shown to provide significant economic benefits to the state. The plant keeps wholesale power prices lower than they would otherwise be in Maryland, creating bill savings for Maryland’s residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The report found that Calvert Cliffs keeps Maryland energy customers costs lower by an average of about $47 million per year, keeps Maryland’s GDP higher by an average of over $600 million per year and 

maintains nearly 5,000 jobs, including both direct and secondary employment effects (gross benefits, not accounting for any policy costs, if they are ever needed, to support Calvert Cliffs’ continued operations). 

The full report can be found at: https://www.nuclearpowersmd.com/brattle_report

About Nuclear Powers Maryland Nuclear Powers Maryland is a statewide coalition of clean energy advocates dedicated to supporting the State of Maryland’s transition to clean energy. Comprised of a diverse group of like-minded organizations – energy and electric companies, non-profits, local governments, and trade associations – the coalition is dedicated to educating the public about the value of carbon-free nuclear power and supporting Maryland’s continued clean energy progress and economic growth. For more information, visit www.nuclearpowersmd.com or follow @nuclearpowersmd on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.