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The best this year in renewable energy

December 13, 2004, 09:00 CET

The small island of Utsira to the west of Norway has attracted international attention. On Friday evening, Hydro's wind and hydrogen project on Utsira went right to the top in the Platts Global Energy Award at the fashionable Plaza Hotel in New York.

Hydro took part in the category "Renewable project of the year", and shared the top place in this category with Rahimafrooz Batteries Ltd. from Bangladesh.

Sharing the prize did not, however, dampen the pleasure.

"This is marvellous," says the head of Hydro's hydrogen operation, Ivar Hexeberg. "A lot of work has gone into this project, and it is particularly encouraging to see that others also consider our work of be of value."

The first in the world

The Utsira project is the world's first independent energy system using renewable energy and hydrogen. It is based on the principle that renewable power can be chemically stored in hydrogen, and the excess power produced by two wind mills on Utsira produce hydrogen in an electrolyser.

This hydrogen is stored, and then used at a later stage, when the windmills are not in operation for whatever reason, to drive a fuel cell and generator. This combined plant delivers power to the households taking part in the project - also when there is no wind.

Platts is the world's largest provider of information relating to the energy industry, and publishes a number of highly-regarded magazines, newsletters, Internet services and databases for the energy industry.

The global Energy Award is an annual award to the most acclaimed companies, projects and individuals within different categories.

Tough competition

The competition in the category for Renewables Project of the Year is tough, and the Utsira project had to compete with nine strong competitors from five different countries.

The projects were assessed against a number of criteria, with a view to finding the real leaders in the area of renewable energy.

On this basis, the judges voted for the most visionary and the best executed renewables project over the last year, and it was here that the Utsira project went right to the top together with the project from Bangladesh.

"This gives us every reason to celebrate," says Hexeberg.

"The fact that the project on Utsira was realized with its official opening on 1 July and is running according to plan is success criteria enough for us. But going right to the top in a tough competition with impressive projects is a wonderful conclusion to an exciting year for everyone who has been involved in the realization of this project," concludes Ivar Hexeberg.