Zbynek Burival 602936 Unsplash

Clean energy race picking up pace

The consequences for unabashedly consuming the earth’s natural resources has us racing against the clock to restore the damage we have done before it’s too late. And that has meant some big renewable energy gains across the world over the past year. Here are some of biggest and brightest energy projects to make headlines in 2018.

Huainan floating solar farm, China

The largest floating solar farm in the world has started power homes. Built in 2017, and located in China’s most coal rich city, Huainan, the solar panels take up an area larger than 160 American football fields and sits on top a former coal mine.

The solar farm can produce enough energy to power 15,000 homes in the district and supports the move to an energy system that is less reliant on coal mines. It’s a clever way to use the water that would otherwise be useless due to its mineralised state, making it unfit for irrigation and farming purposes.

Lithium battery storage, South Australia

Following a series of blackouts during the summer of 2016/17, Elon Musk built the world’s largest lithium-ion battery storage system in South Australia last year. Now in its first year of operation, it is on track to make back a third of its hefty construction costs of $90 million.

While the current South Australian Government has been quick to criticise the project, labelling it “messy” and “expensive”, the battery appears to be delivering on its promises. When the coal-fired plant in Victoria, Loy Yang, went offline earlier this year, the Tesla storage system boosted the national electricity grid at lightning speed – providing 100 megawatts of electricity in 140 milliseconds.

The project now has more Australian states considering a greater investment into energy storage systems, to bolster the national grid and help avoid future black outs.

Geysers Geothermal Complex, California

Located in the north of San Francisco is the world’s largest geothermal field. Historically, Native American tribes used the steam produced by the area for hot water and cooking. Now it’s home to 22 geothermal power plants that produce electricity using the Earth’s natural heat.

The Geysers Complex spans 87km and draws on more than 350 wells to generate electricity. At full capacity it can power up to 1,000,000 homes in the Northern California area. Only 24 countries around the world currently use geothermal power, but there are currently 80 ongoing projects implementing the technology throughout the world.

With renewable energy becoming a more financially viable option for governments around the world, and more changes to policy and new green agreements being signed, we should continue to see a rapid growth of these types of projects throughout 2019.

Closer to home

Solar batteries are the next frontier for energy consumers, with many pioneers already taking the lead and coupling their solar systems with energy storage. If it’s something you’re considering, check out knowyourbattery.com.au. Backed by independent industry experts, the website has everything you need to get in the know before you start searching for batteries and installers.