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November 29, 2000

News and Events

  • Space Station to Set New Record for Solar Power in Space
  • Commercial Wave Power Plant Goes Online in Scotland
  • New Residential Fuel Cells Generate Electricity, Heat Water
  • TVA to Build 12-Megawatt Fuel-Cell Storage Plant by 2003
  • Nevada Test Site Considers Wind Turbine Installation
  • American Solar Challenge: Getting Solar Kicks on Route 66
Site News
  • European Electric Road Vehicle Association
Energy Facts and Tips
  • Growth Boosts Projections for U.S. Energy Use in 2020
About this Newsletter

News and Events

Space Station to Set New Record for Solar Power in Space
If the Space Shuttle launches on time tomorrow, astronauts will begin installing solar panels on the International Space Station this coming weekend. Lockheed Martin Space Systems built the flexible solar panels, each of which will be rolled out to form a "wing" measuring 38 feet by 107 feet and carrying 32,800 solar cells — larger than any previous solar power array deployed in space. Two of the eight wings are scheduled to be installed this weekend and will be capable of generating nearly 62 kilowatts of electric power. The remaining solar wings will be installed in 2002, 2003, and 2006. See the Lockheed Martin press release.

See also the Space Shuttle press kit.

For the latest news on the mission from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Commercial Wave Power Plant Goes Online in Scotland
A new form of renewable energy achieved commercial status last week, when the world's first commercial wave power station began operating on the Scottish island of Islay, providing power to the United Kingdom power grid. The United Kingdom has always been the leader in wave power technology, with research in various technologies spanning several decades. The new 500-kilowatt power station uses a technology called the oscillating water column, in which the incoming waves push air up and down inside a concrete tube that is partially submerged in the ocean. The air rushing into and out of the top of the tube is used to drive a turbine to produce electricity. See the WAVEGEN press release.

New Residential Fuel Cells Generate Electricity, Heat Water
H Power Corporation announced earlier this month that it has completed the installation and startup of a residential fuel-cell system that generates both electricity and hot water. Powered by propane, the prototype system is being tested at a laboratory run by Hydro-Quebec, Canada's largest electric utility. Yesterday, H Power announced that a similar fuel-cell system, powered with natural gas, has been installed at a model home owned by a utility in France. The unit will undergo a five-month evaluation by the French national gas utility, Gaz de France. See the H Power press releases.

TVA to Build 12-Megawatt Fuel-Cell Storage Plant by 2003
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced in mid-November that it plans to build a 12-megawatt fuel-cell facility in Mississippi that will serve as a means of storing electricity. Fuel cells are typically used to produce electricity from such fuels as hydrogen and oxygen. The TVA facility will use "reversible" fuel cells that can literally be operated in reverse, using electricity to generate hydrogen and oxygen, then switching to convert the fuels back into electricity. In this way, the facility will work like a giant battery, storing electricity during periods of low electrical use and producing electricity during peak usage periods.

Innogy Technology Ventures of Great Britain will design the facility and provide the fuel cells. Construction could start as early as next spring and is expected to take about two years. See the TVA press release.

Nevada Test Site Considers Wind Turbine Installation
Three locations within the Nevada Test Site — where nuclear weapons were once tested — are now being considered for the installation of more than 300 wind turbines, according to DOE. The Nevada Test Site Development Corporation (NTSDC) is proposing the wind project as part of its membership in the Western Renewable Energy Network, a group that also includes the El Paso Merchant Energy Company, Duke Solar Energy, M&N Wind Power (a subsidiary of NEG Micon), and the Siemens Corporation. The group is expecting private investment in the project, which would be overseen by DOE. An initial public meeting was held November 15th, and DOE is preparing an Environmental Assessment for the project. See the press release from DOE's Nevada Operations Office.

In related news, the New Power Company announced early this month that it will sell wind power to its customers in the area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company will buy the power from Community Energy Inc., which will develop a new wind turbine site in the mountains of northeast Pennsylvania. The new wind facility is scheduled to start producing power by the end of 2001. See the November 7th press release from the New Power Company.

American Solar Challenge: Getting Solar Kicks on Route 66
Plans are underway for the world's longest solar race, the American Solar Challenge, to be held in mid-July 2001 along U.S. Route 66, which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. The 2,300-mile race will be open to solar-powered cars built by university teams, companies, clubs and individuals worldwide. DOE is the primary sponsor for the race, but both the race and the individual teams are seeking additional sponsors. See the American Solar Challenge Web site.

So what's the big deal about Route 66? As a major east- west route, Route 66 was important to the growth of the U.S. trucking industry and brought dust-bowl refugees to California. For many Americans, it represents the call of the open road. See the National Historic Route 66 Federation Web site.

By the way, you might note that the American Solar Challenge Web site is hosted by SolarHost, an Internet company powered entirely by the sun. Started in March of this year, SolarHost is also an American Solar Challenge sponsor. See the Web site.

Site News

European Electric Road Vehicle Association
AVERE — the European Electric Road Vehicle Association — was founded in 1978 as a European network of industrial manufacturers and suppliers for electric vehicles. The AVERE site features a database of European electric vehicles that is searchable by vehicle type and that provides a complete set of specifications for each entry. In addition, the site includes a brief history of electric vehicles and how they work, as well as news and a list of electric vehicle incentives from member countries.

For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site, see

Energy Facts and Tips

Growth Boosts Projections for U.S. Energy Use in 2020
Long-term economic growth will increase U.S. energy use by nearly one third by 2020, according to new projections released yesterday by DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). Last year, EIA projected an economic growth rate of 2.1 percent per year, but that has been increased to 3 percent per year in the latest projection. The new projection sees near-term decreases in the price of oil and natural gas, followed by a slow but steady increase over the next two decades.

By 2010, the increase in energy use is projected to cause combustion-related carbon dioxide emissions to increase to 34 percent above 1990 levels — far above the Kyoto Protocol goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels. This increase occurs despite the fact that the carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product are expected to decline. See the EIA press release.

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