We’ve got fracking, pipelines and oil spills wreaking havoc around the world. Not to mention the colossal effects of climate change; The Guardian cites the UN climate chief as saying that we have just 3 short years to stop the worst damage from happening.
It’s about time that we got our act together and fully embraced the abundance of energy that can be gained from a variety of renewable resources including wind, geothermal and solar amongst others. Here are the latest developments around the world and who’s paving the way to a gloriously greener globe for us all.
Scotland’s Floating Wind FarmsThe wind that whips the earth can be harnessed and channeled from its kinetic energy form to electrical at the turn of a turbine. So far we’ve seen land-based and marine-anchored and these have been great. However what’s clear is that out at sea is where the best wind is to be had. Far away from the disruption of the metropolis, the wind is free to charge at gale force. The £200m Hywind Project is the world’s first floating windfarm. Five turbines currently bob in a Norwegian fjord ready to be tugged over to Scottish waters any day now. This evolutionary development in wind energy opens a gateway to utilizing this kind of resource in deep waters around the globe. Why reserve wind turbines to shallow waters when the middle of the ocean experiences even greater forces? As long as shipping lanes remain undisturbed and there is no dramatic impact on our marine or avian organisms, this can only be a good thing.
Tiny Tilos, Greece Greece is known for many things: its ancient history, glorious cuisine and many sun-baked islands scattering the Mediterranean. One of these – Tilos – stands out from all the rest. This pioneering nature reserve is set to run entirely on solar and wind power in an EU Commission-funded project due to pilot in September of this year. The hope is that excess, stored energy could even be exported to nearby neighbour, Kos, to boost power on this brother island too. Rich in biodiversity, Tilos is paving the way for the new wave of eco-travellers wanting to support good where they roam. I look forward to other islands following suit and standing for a cleaner environment through their use of renewables.
Fire & IcelandThe land of fire and ice do many things oh, so right. From gender equality to harnessing green energy, Iceland is the one. It really is. The first thing that strikes you about Iceland as you touch ground is how utterly breathtaking the landscape is. And also how volatile. But Icelanders use this to their advantage by drilling down and using the heat from lava to create geothermal power for their country. The Iceland Deep Drilling Project has gone deeper into a volcano than anyone before, harnessing temperatures upwards of 500C Iceland generates almost all of its power from renewable resources and this one promises nothing but success to follow for it too.
Back in 2008 Energy Floors had a wild idea. This Dutch feel-good firm thought about utilising the kinetic energy generated from dancers in a nightclub and turning it into electricity. And it worked. Clut WATT was a huge success. Energy Floors now rent out their floors around the world for all kinds of events. Just a few weeks ago it was put to use in NYC’s Times Square at the World Science Festival. You’ve got to stop and ask, with all of our crowded cities playing host to millions of stomping feet every day, why aren’t more of these utilised? We’ll see what the future holds on that one.
Floating Sun, China
China gets a lot of bad press, but for a country with the world’s largest population it is really doing a lot in the way of working towards a nation powered by renewable resources. The Sungrow floating power plant sits in a mineralized and mostly useless derelict coal-mine-cum-lake doing good in an area that would otherwise serve very little purpose anymore. If we can use this PV technology to introduce panels to other desolate lakes, think about the space we’d be saving. Turning wasteland into our world’s powerhouses, one water body at a time. And if we’re already shining the light on China, I can’t not mention the fact that recently it ran the entire Qinghai province on renewable energy with great success.
There is still a lot of work to be done, but we’re getting there slowly and surely. If you’re as excited and inspired by these projects as I am, spread the word of all the great work being done to combat climate change and clean up our planet. You might even have a big renewable project happening in your town. If so, please share!
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