research-and-development efforts help deliver value to the Valley
of the remarkable Regenesys energy-storage facility that TVA is
scheduled to build in northeast Mississippi.
been in existence only since 1999, TVAs Public Power Institute
(PPI) is already filling an important gap between the laboratory and
limited research-and-development money in the U.S., and as those funds
become more scarce its important to take a collaborative approach
to technological advancement, says Anda Ray, who directs the institute.
The PPI focuses on research, development, demonstration, and deployment.
We take sound science and technologies and move them toward commercialization.
We use TVAs facilities and resources as a living laboratory to
bring together ideas that improve the way electricity is produced, delivered,
and used. And we provide TVA with a policy-centered voice to help build
alliances for the promotion of services that differentiate public power
from investor-owned utilities.
One of the institutes
current projects already has the potential to make dramatic changes
in Americas electric power industry. In partnership with Innogy
Technology Ventures of Great Britain, the PPI is working to employ that
companys innovative Regenesys energy-storage method in a new TVA
plant thats slated for construction in northeast Mississippi,
beginning next spring.
The facility will
be the first in the U.S. to apply the Regenesys technology, which uses
regenerative fuel cells and a chemical process to store large quantities
of energy. The plant will function like a gigantic, extremely efficient
battery, storing electricity during periods of low demand and providing
it when demand is high. Because it helps eliminate momentary supply
interruptions and keeps voltage levels constant, the Regenesys technology
helps improve power quality. As an energy-storage method, it also reduces
the need to build additional generating capacity. The system requires
less than a single hectare (two acres) of land and can be placed near
an existing transmission facility.
In another instance
of innovation, the PPI brokered a partnership between TVA and petroleum
producer BP Amoco that is promoting the use of cleaner renewable energy
in the Valley. To accompany its introduction of a new low-sulfur gasoline,
BP Amoco will construct two solar-power-generating gas stations in Tennessee
by the end of 2001; another two will be completed within three years.
Another PPI success
in 2000 was the installation of ultraviolet air-sterilizing units at
the Shelby County Justice Center in Memphis. The PPIs collaborators
in the project were the Electric Power Research Institute, the government
of Shelby County, and Memphis Light, Gas and Water. The units recycle
indoor air and use ultraviolet light to destroy a variety of harmful
microbes, including the germs that cause tuberculosis.
On the public-policy
front, the PPI maintains a position on the Biomass Research and Development
Board, established by last years Congressional Biomass Research
and Development Act. The institute represents the only operating utility
on the board, so it can tap TVAs knowledge to provide valuable
experience-based input on national biomass energy policy.
The work done
by the PPI addresses the full spectrum of power production, delivery,
and use and helps to maximize the value of public power. Ray says, Its
our desire that the Public Power Institute stand as a symbol of the
vision and purpose that public power enterprises like TVA bring to the
Stay current on
research- and-development news at the
Public Power Institutes Web site. It features discussion
boards where visitors can weigh in on issues of importance to
Treatment Wins Award
Les Behrends won an EPA award for his innovative adaptation of
wetlands technology to treat waste water.
an owner-operator of a large and complex power system, TVA makes effective
investments in research and development because their bottom line depends
on it. As a public power enterprise, those investments are a public
service that protects regional preference for affordable power. Its
a winning combination of performance drivers from which distributors
and consumers benefit.
Long, Chairman, Research and Development Committee, Tennessee Valley
Public Power Association