Officials Announce Plans to Make City Carbon Neutral

The Integrated Electricity Generation Project proposes to make the Oak Ridge Reservation net carbon neutral by 2030 with an integrated clean energy power project.

Oak_Ridge_Energy_CorridorOAK RIDGE — Officials within Oak Ridge have unveiled a plan to make the city the first carbon neutral retrofit city and region in the United States.

The Integrated Electricity Generation Project proposes to make the Oak Ridge Reservation net carbon neutral by 2030 with an integrated clean energy power project, according to a news release.

The Energy Corridor is a regional concept for deployment of energy related technologies and demonstrations throughout the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley.

The project is designed to support the U.S. Department of Energy goals to cut carbon emission, as directed by the White House Executive Order for Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance. The announcement took place at the 2010 Tennessee Valley Corridor National Technology Summit in Washington, D.C., last week

The announcement included officials from the Department of Energy-Oak Ridge Operations, the city of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, TVA, the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee, and Y-12 National Security Complex.

In order to achieve these goals, Energy Corridor partners have set regional goals to increase the net output of energy produced from carbon neutral sources by 2020 with investments in small nuclear reactors, solar thermal hybrid gas turbines and solar photovoltaic arrays. The Corridor also wants to see the installation of a 125 megawatt small modular nuclear reactor, a 10 megawatt solar thermal hybrid gas turbine project and 10 megawatts of distributed solar photovoltaic power.

This clean energy generation will lead to a net carbon neutral region for the over 34,000 acres of the Oak Ridge Reservation, that ORNL, Y-12, the city, and the Heritage and Horizon Centers.

This installation will also meet over 48 percent of DOE’s overall carbon reduction goals.

Additionally, the project plans to produce 270 MWe of carbon neutral electricity by 2030, which will complement the DOE and Nissan electric vehicle initiative and support ORNL’s sustainable campus initiative.

As the Nuclear Regulatory Committee creates a new certification process for small reactors, the Corridor will work with experts in small reactor designs at ORNL. The lab’s current research and previous experiences with the small reactor technologies in the 1970s and 1980s can be used to write new regulatory guidance for materials, reactors, safety, security and used fuel. The Energy Corridor will also work to gain policy support that will allow distributed generation sources to be integrated into the current grid at TVA.

The Energy Corridor also plans to develop and deploy a grid scale energy storage system, as well as make upgrades to current power distribution systems in place that will better support distributed energy generation and advanced power flow control. In order to ensure new technology can be viably deployed, the Energy Corridor will seek funding private financing.

The Energy Corridor, part of the DOE’s Energy Parks Initiative, is a regional concept for deployment of energy related research, technologies and demonstrations.

In addition to the entities listed above, partners include DOE contractors such as B&W Y-12 LLC and UT-Battelle; Innovation Valley Inc., and the state of Tennessee.

“Because of the available human capital and infrastructure in Oak Ridge, the city has the unique opportunity to lead the nation with an unprecedented net carbon neutral retrofit project that complements the large investments made by public and private entities in the nuclear, solar and electric vehicle industries,” Gary Gilmartin, Energy Corridor executive director, stated in the release. “The Oak Ridge Energy Corridor wants to capitalize on this opportunity and serve as the catalyst that will drive the commitment voiced by each of the partners to create a clean energy generation portfolio in the Corridor.”

“The energy initiatives going on in Oak Ridge, and throughout the region, are leading us in a direction that will help us meet the president’s and Secretary Chu’s objectives to be more energy independent,” stated Gerald Boyd, DOE-ORO manager.. “We are once again leading our nation in an area that is critical to the U.S.’s national security and overall well-being, and through the resources available in our region, we are going to change the way energy generation is approached.”

“The city of Oak Ridge has all the attributes to make the Energy Corridor succeed,” said Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan. “We have energy and transportation experts, world class research facilities, and land and infrastructure. Oak Ridge and its partners are on a path to help solve the nation’s most challenging energy and transportation problems.”

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Source: The Oak Ridger
Photo: Oak Ridge Energy Corridor