Geothermal Power, Fat Energy, and Other Energy News

The affect federal subsidies have had on advancing geothermal power development and "fat energy"—the amount of energy required to maintain obese Americans at their excess weight—are among the energy news stories covered in this ongoing feature.

| May/June 1979

  • 057 energy news - geothermal power - Slavomir Valigursky - Fotolia.jpg
    Tax breaks and U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees have advanced the development of geothermal power.

  • 057 energy news - geothermal power - Slavomir Valigursky - Fotolia.jpg

The following energy news stories were drawn from multiple sources.

Geothermal Power

Enormous growth in U.S. geothermal development has resulted from tax breaks included in the National Energy Act and loan guarantees provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. Utility companies in the West have already developed "earth power" plants, and the DOE has discovered a promising geothermal source for the East Coast in the Delaware/Maryland peninsula.

Fat Energy

Fat people eat up energy, according to two researchers at the University of Illinois. The pair's calculations show that there are 850 million pounds of excess fat on American men and 1.5 billion on the women of this country. The fossil fuel energy required to provide the food calories to maintain this extra body weight would more than supply the annual residential electrical demands of Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, or fuel about 900,000 autos each year!

Windjammer Wind Turbine

The Windjammer 475—billed as "the most powerful private wind turbine now operating in the United States"—is a prime attraction at the 150-acre Dorney Amusement Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This 101-foot-tall generator with four 75-foot blades has a maximum power output of 225,000 watts, enough to handle an estimated 10-15% of the park's total electric needs! Plans are also underway to use the big turbine to power pumps which will supply the park's extra water needs during the summer months. School groups have been visiting the site for free lectures on alternative energy.

Military Solar

Sun-of-a-gun! The Pentagon's 1979 Military Construction Authorization bill requires the incorporation of optimum solar systems in all new military housing, and in 25% of other new "defense" facilities. This ruling is expected to pour $100 million into the solar products industry each year.

Homemade Heater

A homemade heater—which warms 35 gallons of water in a fireplace and then circulates it through copper pipes—kept contractor Steve Sizemore's three-bedroom house in Bethany, Ohio at a comfortable 70°F during this past winter. With most of the materials purchased at cost and the family doing all the labor, the heating system—which loses about a quart. of water a day—cost only $400.

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