HARC and Entergy are first in Texas to connect residential size fuel cell to grid

THE WOODLANDS, Texas, Sept. 3, 2002 — The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) has announced the successful connection of a 5-kilowatt proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system into the electric grid.

The unit, manufactured by Plug Power is believed to be the first residential size system in Texas connected to the grid using PUC-T interconnection codes.

A HARC-organized consortium is testing the system as part of a project to demonstrate the viability of fuel cells as a source of safe, clean and efficient electric power. The Plug Power system is the first in the HARC study to be located outdoors in real-world conditions and the first residential unit to be connected to the electric power grid in Texas, according to George King, director of HARC’s Energy Group.

“We are putting energy into HARC’s internal grid to learn whether homes, in the future, can safely generate their own power and even receive emission reduction credits from on-site fuel cell installations,” said King, who cited Entergy Texas’ participation in the effort as an example of cooperating with a utility in a true distributed generation project.

The HARC consortium, comprised of Southern Company, Texaco Energy Systems Inc., a unit of ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures, and Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development Inc., works in partnership to demonstrate promising fuel cell technologies.

It is also currently testing units from Avista Labs and Enable Fuel Cell. Plans are under way to expand the consortium to include additional companies with a common interest in investigating the opportunities and challenges related to adopting stationary fuel cells in commercial and residential settings.

“As a leader in clean generation, Entergy is proud to participate in this effort with HARC and consortium members,” said Paul Senkel, account service manager for Entergy Texas. “Fuel cells offer great promise for clean, dependable and high-quality power. We are always looking for opportunities to explore technologies that can improve services for our customers and, at the same time, provide options for cleaner ways to generate energy.”

Created in 1982, HARC is a non-profit organization located in The Woodlands, Texas, that seeks to improve human and ecosystem well-being through research and service in energy, life sciences and the environment. HARC’s Fuel Cell Research and Applications Center was created in July of 1998 in response to a growing demand for clean power generation products.

With four million customers and nearly 35,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company is a super-regional energy company in the Southeast and a U.S. producer of electricity.

Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states, a fast-growing competitive generation company and an energy services business, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. The company has traditionally been a leader in the electric utility industry in research and development.

ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures, a unit of ChevronTexaco Corporation, is involved with identifying, developing and commercializing new and emerging technologies and energy systems that promise to play an increasingly important role in the world’s energy mix.

Such activities include fuel cells, fuel processing, hydrogen storage, advanced batteries and renewables. ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures is also a venture investor actively engaged in developing and commercializing energy technologies through internal development, joint ventures and equity investments.

Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development Inc. is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company and is chartered to develop and apply technology to the entertainment field.

Entergy is a major global energy company with power production, distribution operations and related diversified services. Entergy owns, manages or invests in power plants generating more than 30,000 megawatts of electricity domestically and internationally and delivers electricity to about 2.6 million customers in portions of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Through Entergy-Koch, L.P., it is also a leading provider of wholesale energy marketing and trading services.

Plug Power designs, develops and manufactures on-site electric power generation systems utilizing proton exchange membrane fuel cells for stationary applications.

Plug Power’s fuel cell systems are expected to be sold globally through GE Fuel Cell Systems, L.L.C. and through DTE Energy Technologies in a four-state territory, which includes Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana. The Company’s headquarters are located in Latham, N.Y., with offices in Washington, D.C. and The Netherlands.

For more information from Houston Advanced Research Center or the HARC Energy Group, visit http://www.harc.edu.

Source: Houston Advanced Research Center

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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