Project Merit: Renewable & Low-Carbon Power


Electricite de France (EDF) for winning the bid to build the UK's first new nuclear plant since 1995. The $25.9 billion Hinkley Point power plant in southwest England will be financed 45-50% by EDF and 30-40% by its partners in the venture, China General Nuclear and China National Nuclear.

While opposition to nuclear has increased in the UK and elsewhere after Fukushima, UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey described the investment in new nuclear power capacity as essential to the country as supplies of gas from the North Sea decline. "If people at home want to be able to keep watching the television, be able to turn the kettle on, and benefit from electricity, we have got to make these investments," he told the BBC.

The deal has been greeted with protests by anti-nuclear campaigners who cite, in addition to radioactivity dangers, the high costs of the project, which include a guaranteed wholesale price for 35 to 40 years. Indeed, EU competition regulators have opened an investigation to determine whether the deal meets EU rules for state subsidies. UK news sources stated that EDF took the announcement in stride, saying that any deal of this magnitude would be subject to such scrutiny.

Babcock & Wilcox for winning the Department of Energy's competitive funding process to develop an mPower small modular reactor (SMR) by 2022 and for working with nuclear technology company Lightbridge to develop a pilot plant for manufacturing metal fuel for light water reactors.

SMR technology is seen both as a more affordable and adaptable form of nuclear power unit and a branch of nuclear generation technology where U.S. companies have the opportunity to gain significant global competitive advantage.

Christofer M. Mowry, president of Babcock & Wilcox mPower, told CCBJ last year that the modular design of the firm's SMRs makes them "almost plug and play." Reactors, measuring 83 feet high by 13 feet in diameter, can be built in factories, shipped by rail or truck to construction sites, and then assembled onsite.

Buried underground beneath reinforced-concrete walls, the reactors' above-ground profile will "look like a WalMart. With trees around, you wouldn't even see it," said Mowry.

The metallic fuel initiative, focusing on a zirconium-uranium alloy, which uses a unique composition and fuel rod geometry, according to World Nuclear News, holds the promise of operating a higher power density than uranium oxide fuels in use today. If successful, it could enable pressurised water reactors to operate at higher power outputs while also extending operating cycles, improving economics and providing safety and fuel performance benefits.

Bioenergy Deployment Consortium for becoming a reliable, trustworthy, organization that helps members (public and private entities) quantify market opportunities and evaluate technologies and provides neutral third-party research and analysis to journalists and policymakers. For example, BDC's investigation and tracking of all North American announcements of advanced biofuels projects provided reliable data to help validate estimates of cellulosic biofuel production capacity-a critical factor in the evolution of the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard.

The nonprofit BDC conducts member seminars, frequently recruiting world class speakers, and sponsors tours of pilot and demonstration facilities enabling members to view technology and product performance. BDC validates codes and distributes what it calls "bellwether" announcements which are available to members by category on the website.

BDC also learns member needs and alerts them of opportunities, including federal or state funding assistance. Three BDC members have won multimillion dollar DOE grants, two for biorefineries and one for energy/GHG reduction. A British BDC member completed funding for U.S. biorefinery demonstration and commercial plants. BDC is helping another U.S. member select a site in the U.S. or Brazil for a unique commercial biorefinery, and another BDC member is currently selecting partners for a demonstration plant in the U.S.