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COLUMBUS, MS-The Tennessee Valley Authority has broken ground on the first large-scale power storage facility in the United States off Highway 373, just east of the Air Force base near Columbus, MS.

The $25 million, two-acre complex is on an 18 month to 24-month construction track and is scheduled to be completed in 2003, according to Information Resources Inc., a Houston-based industry researcher. Sixty jobs will be created.

The complex is designed to store up to 120 megawatt-hours of energy and will be capable of providing power to 7,500 homes for up to 10 hours.

“This innovative energy-storage plant is designed to improve power reliability and customer service, have limited environmental impact and contribute to economic growth for consumers in Mississippi and throughout the Tennessee Valley,” TVA chairman Glenn McCullough Jr. says in a prepared statement.

The plant will use regenerative fuel cell technology and was designed by Regenesys Technologies Ltd., part of Innogy plc, based in Great Britain. During periods of low electrical demand, the cells are charged with electricity generated at other locations. The stored energy is released during peak demand times.

“This will be the first use of the Regenesys technology in the United States,” Regenesys Technology CEO Andrew Duff says in the same statement.

Regenesys and Innogy are building a similar plant in the United Kingdom, scheduled for completion in 2002.

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