With our focus on energy in the US and its technology and political developments, it is all too easy to forget what is going on outside of American borders. This article outlines what the author describes as the current “Top Five” renewables projects around the world and their promised phenomenal scopes and impacts.
“As the world becomes increasingly aware of the urgent need to transition to renewable energy sources, large-scale renewable energy projects have emerged as game-changers in the global fight against climate change. These mammoth initiatives are reshaping the energy landscape and significantly impacting a global scale.
From wind farms that span thousands of acres to solar parks that harness the sun’s power, these projects are revolutionising how we produce and consume energy. This article will explore some of the most significant renewable energy projects worldwide, showcasing their innovative technology, impressive scale, and positive environmental impact.”
Perhaps even the most skeptical of us may not be able to dismiss the significance of these projects.
First, a quick look at the surge in renewable energy around the world:
While we all have heard by now about the meteoric rise of solar and wind, some say that geothermal may be about to become much more feasible and practical than previously thought. More about that later.
But back to what is going on now:
The first of the Top Five is:
Though I am a bit skeptical about the UAE´s supposed acceptance that this is true:
“The pressures of the climate crisis mean that both domestic use and export of fossil fuels from the region will diminish over time, and the industry needs to adapt to global changing demand.”
One has to recognize that the UAE has the cash to adapt and move away from dependence on fossil fuels for export. The enormity of this project may support the thesis that that is what they are doing.
The second of the the Top Five is:
“The Hornsea Two project, located in the North Sea off the coast of Yorkshire in the UK, is the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The project, operated by Danish renewables company Ørsted, currently generates over 1300MW of renewable energy, powering over 1.4 million UK homes.
Hornsea Project Two is equipped with 165 Siemens Gamesa 8MW turbines, harnessing the power of the North Sea winds to generate electricity.
Looking ahead, Hornsea Project Two is not the final frontier for offshore wind in the North Sea. Hornsea Four, the fourth phase of the wind project, has received final approval from British government officials. This phase is expected to bring the power generation of the Hornsea farm to 2.6 GW of renewable energy, with 180 wind turbines.”
Anyone who has visited Yorkshire and the North Sea will attest to the near constant wind conditions. Still, however, skeptics will ask, perhaps justifiably, what happens when the wind doesn´t blow? But the scope of the project is impressive.
The third of the Top Five is:
“In terms of onshore wind, Gansu Wind Farm in China is the largest site in the world. Constructed in the Gobi Desert near Jiuquan in Gansu province, it was commissioned in 2009 and currently produces 8GW of renewable energy. When complete, the farm will consist of 7000 wind turbines with a combined output of 20GW.
The development of the Gansu Wind Farm began in 2005 as part of a strategic initiative by the Chinese government to invest in renewable energy sources. The Renewable Energy Law, implemented in the same year, aimed to achieve 200 GW of installed wind capacity in the country. The project’s first phase was completed in 2010, with 3,500 turbines installed, totalling a capacity of 5.16 GW.”
Whatever one says about the Chinese, they are highly competent at thinking big.
“China is leading the way globally when it comes to renewable energy. The country is set to double its utility-scale solar and wind power capacity by 2025, five years ahead of its 2030 target of 1200GW of power generated by renewables.”
But China certainly has its challenges. They still rely heavily on coal fired generation and have major issues with their grid and connecting the built generation to it.
The fourth of the Top Five is:
“The NEOM Green Hydrogen Project is a joint venture between ACWA Power, Air Products and NEOM to develop the world’s largest green hydrogen facility at the Neom site in Saudi Arabia.”
The project will pioneer and accelerate the adoption of green hydrogen…, aiming to produce 500 tons per day of carbon-free hydrogen by the end of 2026.
“By leveraging renewable energy sources and producing carbon-free hydrogen, the project contributes to the decarbonisation of the energy sector and supports Saudi Vision 2030. It represents a significant step towards a carbon-free future and establishes Saudi Arabia as a global leader in the hydrogen revolution.”
“The technology behind green hydrogen is still in development, and one of the significant challenges is producing the energy needed to create hydrogen through electrolysis. While many projects rely on fossil fuels and natural gas for this energy, the Neom project uses renewable energy to develop a zero-carbon pipeline for production.”
Again, one never knows how Saudi Arabia will develop (or not) in the future. Their politics and actions are always subject to doubt. At the same time, their cash reserves are gigantic and they do not hesitate to utilize their vast resources for large endeavors. And no one else is throwing so much cash at the possibilities that green hydrogen represents.
I think the article saves the best, the fifth of the Top Five, for last:
“In February 2018, Greenko Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Andhra Pradesh, signalling their commitment to developing the Pinnapuram IREP. The project’s first phase, approved by the government, will consist of 1GW of solar power, 600MW of wind power, and a standalone pumped storage hydroelectric power (HEP) facility with a storage capacity of 10.8GWh, on 1929 ha of land at Pinnapuram village Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh.”
If we were not aware of what India is capable of before, their recent soft landing near the moon´s south pole should inform us of what they can accomplish, in spite of their well known societal conflicts and grinding poverty.
“The Pinnapuram IREP is about generating renewable energy and emphasises energy storage’s importance. With its pumped storage hydroelectric power component, the project will provide schedulable power to meet the varying demands of consumers. The stored energy can be released during peak load periods, ensuring a stable and reliable power supply. Integrating renewable energy with storage is a significant step towards overcoming the intermittency challenge of solar and wind power.”
“While solar and wind dominate the renewable energy mix due to their cost versus energy output, there are other innovations in renewable energy. Hydropower is still an essential part of the renewable landscape. Countries like Pakistan, India and China are investing in hydropower in the next five years. Geothermal energy is still an important part of the energy mix, as while it is more resource intensive to build, projects take far less space than solar or wind farms, and recent advancements in geothermal technology have unlocked more potential sites than ever before.”
As described earlier, we need to keep our eye on Geothermal. As noted here:
“Geothermal energy has the lowest land-use intensity of all renewable energy technologies, according to a US government report.”
“…it can provide dispatchable, flexible electricity which is not dependent on the weather. The next-generation geothermal plants can ramp generation up and down over a few minutes and can run for as long as necessary to ensure the reliability of the grid, thanks to advanced well flow control and power system setups.”
“New geothermal” envisions moving geothermal away from the shallow well geothermal energy available in places such as Iceland. This podcast was released on EnergyCentral today and includes discussion of “new” or “advanced” geothermal in some detail.
It is to be hoped that the next report on major renewables projects will feature a project or two in the US, and maybe about geothermal. Some say we are on the cusp of the rise of geothermal. Others say it is farther away, perhaps 10 years.
While the future of renewables is full of potential, it must be remembered that we are still at the beginning of a long road to sustainability. A great deal more is possible in many different ways. We need to expose the disinformation spread by vested interests, especially those of fossil fuels, inform our citizens accurately and responsibly and get on with the job of transforming our energy supply and infrastructure.