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Glad you asked. It turns out that the alternative energy market is the new gold rush of the 21st century. That's the good news.

In the wake of Italy's overwhelming rejection of high-risk atomic power, Reuters tells us:

"Enel Green Power, Italy's biggest renewable company, was up 2.9 percent and K.R.Energy was up 14 percent. Kerself was up 11.6 percent, Pramac up 11.5 percent and Ergycap up 12 percent." (Reuters, June 13)

We even have a new solar power tower design that can continue generating electricity through the night. Located in Seville, Spain this 19.9 MW plant by Torresol Energy is the first solar plant able to store enough heat to continue feeding the turbines after dark.

One glance at the project summons memories of the mid 1970s, and particularly the cover of the October 1975 issue of Popular Science. Lo and behold, this exact "Solar Power Tower" was featured at newsstands everywhere 36 years ago. For trivia buffs, James Bond's nemesis The Man With the Golden Gun also built a solar power tower of sorts back in 1974.

The Power Tower needs no high technology yet to be developed. It simply bounces light from mirrors -- lots of mirrors, synchonized to follow the sun. Not rocket science, not waiting for nanotechnology or advances in space travel. Mirrors.

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Category: Science