July 10, 2016
8 Giant-Sized Renewable Energy Projects
Can renewable energy really compete with coal, gas and oil?
Yes, it can. And it already is.
As proof, take a look at the impressive renewable energy projects listed below. They are built on a BIG scale – to help power whole towns, cities and counties.
These projects are part of an ongoing energy revolution that is seeing the rapid replacement of fossil fuels by clean, sustainable alternatives.
1. London Array Offshore Wind Farm, UK
Located 12 miles off the Kent coast in the outer Thames Estuary, the London Array consists of 175 Siemens wind turbines. Together, they are capable of generating a peak power output of 630 MW.
All 175 turbines were confirmed fully operational in April 2013.
Interestingly, it’s named after London, because the generated power goes directly to the London grid.
2. Topaz Solar Farm, US
Topaz Solar Farm is a $2.5 billion project that uses an incredible 9 million photovoltaic modules. The modules are based on thin-film technology, and were manufactured by First Solar.
The 550-MW solar farm is located in San Luis Obispo County, California.
It was completed in November 2014.
3. Aguçadoura Wave Farm, Portugal
Located near Porto, the Aguçadoura Wave Farm was the world’s first wave farm.
Wave farms work by converting the motion of the ocean surface waves into electricity.
The Aguçadoura Wave Farm had 2.25 MW of total installed capacity.
The innovative technology behind the wave farm was developed by Scottish company Pelamis Wave Power.
The wave farm opened in September 2008.
4. The Geysers, US
Spanning an area of around 30 square miles, The Geysers is currently the world’s largest geothermal field.
It consists of 22 geothermal power plants, which draw steam from more than 350 wells.
The Geysers is located in the Mayacamas Mountains, approximately 72 miles north of San Francisco.
The generated power (an average of 955 MW) from The Geysers provides electricity to the counties of Lake, Marin, Mendocino and Napa.
5. SeaGen Tidal Stream Generator, Ireland
The SeaGen turbine was the world’s first large-scale commercial stream generator.
At the time of its launch, it was shown to be four times more powerful than any other tidal stream generator in the world.
The first SeaGen turbine was installed in Strangford Narrows in Northern Ireland, and was connected to the electrical grid in July 2008.
The turbine is operational for 18 to 20 hours a day, and generates approximately 1.2 MW.
6. Alholmens Kraft Power Station, Finland
The Alholmens Kraft Power Station is currently the largest biomass cogeneration power station in the world.
It has an installed capacity of 265 MW. Additionally, it provides 60 MW district heating for the city of Jakobstad, and 100 MW process steam and heat for the UPM-Kymmene paper mill.
The power station uses wood-based biofuels (forest residues) as its main fuel.
Commissioned in 2001, the power station employs 400 people.
7. Kyocera Floating Solar Power Plant, Japan
While still in development, the Kyocera Floating Solar Power Plant will supply (from 2018) Ichihara City with enough electricity to power approximately 4,700 homes.
The 13.7 MW floating solar power plant will consist of 50,000 solar modules developed by Kyocera.
The modules will be installed over a water surface area of 590,000 square feet.
8. Three Gorges Dam, China
The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping.
It’s the world’s largest hydroelectric power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW).
The dam project was completed and fully functional as of July 2012.
The Three Gorges Dam set a new world record in 2014, when it generated a colossal 98.8 TWh of electricity.
Clearly, the projects above are some of the largest and most ambitious ventures of their kind in the world.
However, It’s worth remembering that renewable energy projects don’t need to be big (think, domestic solar). Even so, it’s certainly an eye-opener to see these enormous projects appearing all over the world – and of course, helping to power the world.
Craig J Todd – Freelance writer with a passion for tech, trends and simplicity.
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