Canadian utility Ontario Power Generation announced the issuance of a $300 million “nuclear green bond,” one of the first green bond offerings aimed at financing nuclear power generation.
Proceeds from the bond will go towards financing the Darlington Refurbishment, helping extend power production from the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station for 30 years.
The place of nuclear power within a clean energy future remains controversial, but has gained traction in recent months. While nuclear has substantial and proven capability to provide abundant amounts of carbon-free energy, disputed remain as to whether nuclear energy can be considered a sustainable source of power, considering the many well-known issues surrounding its use, including radioactive waste management issues, uranium mining concerns, and the potential for catastrophic accidents, among others.
The movement to include nuclear power in clean energy plans got a significant boost with the addition of nuclear energy in the EU Taxonomy, the EU’s classification system for green economic activities. While some EU member states and lawmakers moved to block the move, it appears likely to proceed.
As nuclear’s place in energy transition plans becomes more secure, companies may be more likely to use sustainable finance instruments to fund their nuclear energy plans. Late last year, Canadian nuclear generator Bruce Power issued the first nuclear green bond in a $500 million offering, and earlier this month, French power producer EDF updated its green bond framework to include nuclear power generation as an eligible category for financing, although the company said that green bond issuances identifying nuclear power as an eligible project will be managed separately from other issuances.
OPG updated its own green bond framework earlier this month as well, enabling the bonds to finance the Darlington Refurbishment as well as the maintenance of existing nuclear facilities.
Aida Cipolla, CFO and Senior Vice President, Finance, said:
“Our nuclear green bond offering is a first for OPG and builds on our past issuance of green bonds to finance renewable and clean power projects that produce electricity virtually free of carbon emissions. Nuclear power generation provides the foundation to enable us to eliminate carbon from the electricity grid. This issuance, supporting Darlington Refurbishment, helps secure the kind of low-cost, carbon-free power Ontarians need for decades to come.”