Fred A. Glaski
A significant part of the Department of Energy (DOE) charter to implement the national energy policy will be to promote the evolution of new renewable energy resources from research, through development, and to the market. The emphasis of the program will be on short-term "payout" options wherever possible.
Many of these renewable energy options are in the solar-energy category. A 10-Mw(e) solar central-receiver pilot plant will be operational near Barstow, California, by 1981. A 1-Mw(th) ocean thermal-energy conversion (OTEC) heat-exchange experiment by TRW will be conducted as the first major feasibility test of OTEC in the same time-frame. Three 100-kw(e) wind turbines will go "on line" with other utilities at Clayton, New Mexico; Block Island, Rhode Island; and Culebra, Puerto Rico, during 1978. A 2-Mw(e) wind-energy conversion system (WECS) will be constructed near Boone, North Carolina. Support for biomass conversion to liquid and gaseous fuels is gaining considerable momentum in DOE and in the State of California.
Solar total-energy hardware experiments are scheduled to be operational in the early 1980s at Ft. Hood, Texas, and at a textile plant in Shenandoah, Georgia. Solar heating and cooling of buildings is gaining exposure through the National Heating and Cooling Demonstration Program. Photovoltaics will approach economic acceptability by 1982, when costs are expected to fall to $1.00 to $2.00 per peak installed watt (1975 dollars).
The DOE geothermal program is supporting a hardware-test facility at East Mesa, California. Bids are being reviewed for constructing a 50-Mw(e) demonstration plant in the Imperial Valley. Two multimillion dollar private projects, one for an electric and one for a geothermal application, have launched a new government program of loan guarantees to help finance private geothermal ventures.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90962©1978 AAPG 2nd Circum-Pacific Energy and Minerals Resource Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii