Alternative Energy

  • Windmill Becomes A Popular Tool For Pumping Water

    WIndmills proved to be quite a useful tool in westerrn settling to pump water. These windmills at the time represented intermediate technology at its best.
  • First Solar Power System Developed In France

    Augustine Mouchot developed a solar powered steam generation system to drive industrial machinery becasue he was worried that fosssil fuels would run out.
  • First Demonstration of Generating Electricity Directly from Sunlight

    William Grylls Adams and his student, Richard Evans Day discovered that an electrical current could be started in selenium solely by exposing it to light.
  • First Commercial Hydroelectic Plant Goes Into Operation

    September 30, 1882, that one of the world's first hydro-electric central stations was placed in successful operation in Appleton, Wisconsin.
  • First Windmill to Generate Electricity Clevland Ohio

    Charles F. Brush develops the world's first windmill that can generate electricity as described in an. With the exception of this gigantic windmill and electric plant we do not know of a successful system of electric lighting operated by means of wind power.
  • World's First Geothermal District Heating System

    Within a few years of creation, the system was bumping heated water from a natural hot spring to abot 200 homes and 40 buisnesses businesses
  • World's First Geothermal Power Plant

    The Geysers [72 miles north of San Francisco] were discovered in the early 1800's but were an untapped energy source for many years until 1921 when a man by the name of John D. Grant drilled a geothermal well and ran a small direct-current generator which was used to provide electricity for lighting The Geysers resort, but due to the high expenses to use this form of energy this resource could not compete at that time with other low-cost, easier-to-develop energy resources.
  • First Commercial Wind Turbines Sold to Generate Electricity

    Marcellus and Joe Jacobs develop the first commercially available wind turbine for electricity generation on remote farms. At the time remote fams had to use gas genorators for electricity, but gasoline geonorators were very expensive and inconveniant especially since gasoline had to be delivered in bulk over large distances. As a result of these things, many farms remained in the dark, until the Jacob brothers created a wind powered turbine based on the design of earlier water pump mills.
  • Hoover Dam, the World's Largest Hydroelectric Power Plant, Is Built

    Hoover Dam is completed on the Colorado River in Arizona in 1935, four years after construction began in 1931. At the time of its completion, the Hoover Dam was the largest hydroelectric producer in the world.
  • First Controlled Nuclear Chain Reaction

    Physicist Enrico Fermi and other physicists in Europe and America came to understand that a uranium atom split by a neutron would cause a self-perpetuating chain reaction of atom splitting that would release enormous energy. This process, called nuclear fission.
  • First Silicon Solar Cell Developed at Bell Laboratories

    Scientists Gerald Pearson, Daryl Chapin and Calvin Fuller developed the first siliconsolar cell capable of generating a measurable electric current.
  • Act Passed To Stimulate Development of the Private Nuclear Energy Industry

    The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 authorized private industry to build, own, and operate nuclear power plants and to engage in a variety of other nuclear activities.
  • First Commercial Nuclear Power Plant Begins Operation

    The first large-scale nuclear power plant in the world began operating in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, on December 2, 1957 - exactly 15 years after Enrico Fermi demonstrated the first sustained nuclear reaction.
  • First Commercial Scale Geothermal Electric Plants Built

    The first geothermal power plants in the U.S. were built in 1962 at The Geysers dry steam field, in northern California. It is still the largest producing geothermal field in the world
  • Solar Cells Begin to Lower in Price and Become Cost Effective

    Although the use of solar cells was common in space, the use of solar cells on Earth was less than a normality until Dr. Elliot Berman, with financial help from Exxon Corporation, designed a significantly less costly solar cell.
  • Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 Passed

    To encourage the development of geothermal energy [energy generated by the heat of the earth], the United States government passed the Geothermal Steam Act in 1970 allowing the leasing of land containing geothermal resources; excluding any lands within the National Park System, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands, and any other lands prohibited from leasing by the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920.
  • Congress Creates the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    By 1974 after a long time of strong attack to the Atomic Energy Commission, Congress decided to abolish the agency The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 created the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; it began operations on January 19, 1975.
  • Federal Involvment in Development Advances Wind Energy Technology

    "From the mid 1970's through the mid 1980's the United States government worked with industry to advance the technology and enable large commercial wind turbines. This effort was led by NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] at the Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was an extraordinarily successful government research and development activity.
  • Formation of the Solar Energy Research Institute

    In 1977 the US Department of Energy launches the Solar Energy Research Institute [Golden, Colorado], the first federal facility dedicated to harnessing power from the sun.
  • World's First Solar Powered Village

    NASA's Lewis Research Center (now NASA Glenn) dedicated a solar power system that it installed on the Papago [Tonono O'odham] Indian Reservation in Schuchuli, Ariz. It was the world's first solar-powered village.
  • Solar Photovoltaic Energy Research Developmant and Demonstration

    Solar Photovoltaic Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1978, a bill that authorizes an aggressive program of research, development, and demonstration of solar photovoltaic energy technologies.
  • Nuclear Accident in Pennsylvania Creates Widespread Public Opposition

    On March 28, 1979, an accident at one of the reactors at Three Mile Island near Middletown, in Pennsylvania, closed the era of rosy optimism about nuclear power.
  • World's First Wind Farm Built in New Hampshire

    In December 1980, U.S. Windpower installed the world's first wind farm, consisting of 20 wind turbines rated at 30 kilowatts each, on the shoulder of Crotched Mountain in southern New Hampshire
  • Solar One: First Large Scale Solar-Thermal Power Plant

    Solar One began the first test of a large-scale thermal solar tower, power plant. Solar One's method of collecting power was based on concentrating the sun's energy to produce heat to run a generator.
  • Construction Begins on the World's Largest Wind Farm

    Northern California, is home to one of the oldest wind farms in the U.S. and the largest concentration of wind turbines in the world. Wind Turbines caused thousands of bird deaths.
  • First Complete Decontamination of U.S. Nuclear Reactor

    After Shippingport nuclear power plant (the nation's first commercial nuclear power plant) was retired in 1982 Congress assigned the decontamination and decommissioning of this commercial reactor to the Department of Energy (DOE). This was the first successful and complete decontamination and decommissioning of a reactor in the United States
  • Chernobyl Accident

    An accident occurred at Unit 4 of the nuclear power station at Chernobyl, Ukraine, in the former USSR. The accident, caused by a sudden surge of power, destroyed the reactor and released massive amounts of radioactive material into the environment. The land is still to contaminated for huamns to inhabit.
  • Solar Plant Demonstrates Low Cost Method of Storing Solar Energy

    Beginning operations in Apr. 1996, the "10-megawatt Solar Two power tower pilot plant near Barstow, California, successfully completed operations in April 1999, having met essentially all of its objectives. It demonstrated the ability to collect and store solar energy efficiently and to generate electricity when needed by the utility and its customers.
  • National Biofuel Action Plan Unveiled

    The National Biofeuls Action Plan was developed in response to President Bush's plans to change the way America fuels its transportation fleets.
  • Wind Energy Development on the US Outer Continental Shelf Announced

    "President Barack Obama announced that the Department of the Interior has finalized a long-awaited framework for renewable energy production on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
    The framework establishes a program to grant leases, easements, and rights-of-way for orderly, safe, and environmentally responsible renewable energy development activities, such as the sitting and construction of off-shore wind farms, on the Outer Continental Shelf
  • President Obama Issued Presidential Directive to Expand Access to Biofuels

    President Obama issued a presidential directive today to Secretary Vilsack to aggressively accelerate the investment in and production of biofuels.
  • US Announces $467 Million in Recovery Act Funding for Solar Energy and Geothermal Energy Development

  • Japan Nuclear Crisis Reaches Level 7

    A magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan's northeastern coast, knocking out power and swamping the backup diesel generators needed to cool the six reactors and spent fuel pools at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.
  • Solar Power Company Solyndra Declares Bankruptcy After $528 Million Federal Loan

    The company had received $1 billion in private capital and $528 million in federal loan guarantees as part of President Obama's stimulus plan under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Prior to it's bankruptcy filing, Solyndra had reported sales growth of 40% from 2009 to 2010 and had been named as one of the worlds "50 Most Innovative Companies" by MIT's Technology Review.
  • NRC Approves New Nuclear Plant

    The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved the first new nuclear power reactors to be built in the United States since 1978.
  • World's Largest Concentrated Solar Power Generation Plant Goes Online

    As the largest concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in the world, Ivanpah harnesses the abundant sunlight of the Southwest United States to provide power on a massive scale. Th
  • President Obama Announces Solar Power Commitments

    President Obama announced more than 300 private and public sector commitments to create jobs and cut carbon pollution by advancing solar deployment and energy efficiency. The commitments represent more than 850 megawatts of solar deployed – enough to power nearly 130,000 homes.