Skip to main content

NRG, STP and eVgo

evgo-public Want to see how complicated business can be? Consider:

Nuclear Innovation North America LLC or NINA, the nuclear development company jointly owned by NRG Energy, Inc. and Toshiba, has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for South Texas Project Units 3 & 4 to a restructured EPC consortium formed by Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corporation, a US based Toshiba subsidiary, and The Shaw Group. Both the new nuclear units of the South Texas Project will use ABWR technology.

The actual contract is a natural, as NRG owns 44 percent of the South Texas Project, so Toshiba and NRG have awarded a contract for an NRG part owned project to a Toshiba part owned subsidiary. Here’s how the Shaw Group fits in:

Engineering service provider Shaw Group, Inc. announced Monday that it will expand its global strategic partnership with Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp.

And one of the provisions:

Under the global strategic partnership, Shaw will invest $250 million for an ABWR [advanced boiling water reactor] alliance with Toshiba. This includes providing a $100 million credit facility to NINA to assist in financing the South Texas Project.

This complex of companies (and their subsidiaries)  have the common goal of getting two reactors built in Texas and this news shows, in part, how that will be accomplished. Toshiba builds the reactors, Shaw Group offers engineering, procurement and construction services and NRG provides the site. It may seem convoluted, but the result is more electricity.


A visit to NRG’s web site provided an answer to a question that has niggled the mind a bit: if electric cars take off commercially, is it more likely that recharging the car will happen at home or on the road at the equivalent of a gas station?  Answer, at least as NRG sees it: both.

eVgo is a dedicated ecosystem of home electric vehicle charging docks and network charging stations united by affordable, set-rate charging plans from energy industry leader NRG.

Right now, it looks like NRG is setting up its eVgo stations around Houston. eV stands for electric vehicle (I assume the cap V is marketing; maybe it stands for the “voltage” to power the car) and go stands for go.

As the bit above shows, NRG is trying a monthly plan with different tiers based on whether one wants to use the charging stations or not – but the top rate is $89 per month. This includes all the electricity the car needs, presumably as long as one stays around Houston.

So far, electric cars have been marketed as around town vehicles, but eVgo suggest one model for expanding the potential coverage area for recharging cars, even if it is currently limited to Houston and environs.


eVgo is clearly a commercial venture. Another approach to charging stations is municipal in nature:

The city introduced two electric-car charging stations Tuesday, the first of many sprouting up across Raleigh as electric and hybrid cars become more common. Officials showcased the recharging stations in front of City Hall on Hargett Street. A third station is scheduled to be installed near the convention center next week.

Right now, Raleigh’s effort could be considered, well, careful:

The recharging stations, with 9-foot cords, will provide free electricity, though drivers will need to pay the parking meter.

The parking spaces in front of City Hall are not reserved for drivers with electric cars, so anyone will be able to use them for now.

In other words, Raleigh doesn’t want to annoy anyone too much.

I keep calling these stations – so does the story - but both eVgo and Raleigh are providing fairly modest charging poles that can be put any number of places – eVgo even has a web page soliciting businesses and apartment complexes to host one or more.

The idea of a station may take hold – it’s a well-understood paradigm - but since cars have to sit awhile to be recharged, the parking spot idea might work better.

And where’s the nuclear pick-up? Well, as electric cars gain in  popularity, they will require more electricity – and some of that electricity ought to be as clean as the cars. Where isn’t there a nuclear pick-up?

Fill, er, charge her up! An eVgo charging station in Houston.


SteveK9 said…
You might take note that today was the launch of the Chevrolet Volt, which will be the leading edge of the electrification of the automobile.
Anonymous said…
I've thought about electric vehicles a bit. I agree that if they are going to take off, we should recharge emissions free cars with emissions free energy (whether that comes from nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, whatever).

As for these charging 'stations', I too have thought for several years that the paradigm which really makes the most sense (in many cases) is the parking-meter analogy - you have a charging meter which is physically about the same size as a parking meter, pull up along side it, park, put a couple bucks in to pay for electricity, then plug it in and go about your business.

There's one other idea I remember reading about, which, if you can get the technical difficulties resolved, at least seems to make sense - battery swapping:

Instead of owning an expensive battery in your car, it would be more like the 'propane tank' model currently employed most places - most people who own a propane grill or other propane equipment, don't own the tank - they are constantly taking the tank back to places which have full tanks, they drop off the empty, and pickup the full, and pay a few bucks for the gas inside the tank.

I remember reading about a company, I think it was started by an Israeli, but not sure; maybe the test market was in Israel, well, anyhow point is this company was pairing up a car which was designed to easily swap the battery out, with battery swapping 'centers' or 'stations', where you pull up the car, and I guess maybe a crane or lift of some sort takes the old battery out of the vehicle, and puts the new battery in.

Of course, the technical difficulties with such an arrangement are that you have to make the battery swapping be easy, safe, and work correctly as close to 100% of the time as possible. Any crushed cars or crushed people will lead to expensive lawsuits and the public fleeing from that business model (I mean, who wants to risk getting their car or family crushed, right?).
Philip said…
"go stands for go."

I LOLed. :)

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.

Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…