This article originally posted at The Climate Group. View the original post here.
LONDON: Global wind power capacity increased 12% last year, while solar has already achieved grid parity in France, Germany and Italy’s
- commercial sectors. As clean, sustainable and affordable power sources, these renewable energies are providing a viable alternative to fossil fuels and driving the global clean revolution.
Below we take a look at some of the world’s largest solar and wind projects, which are leading this transition to a low carbon economy.
AGUA CALIENTE SOLAR PROJECT
With a generating capacity of 290 megawatts, Agua Caliante is the world’s largest solar PV facility. Supported by a US Department of Energy loan worth US$967 million, construction on the plant began in Yuma County, California in 2011, creating 400 jobs in the process. The electricity generated from the 4.9 million solar panels will provide power for 100,000 American households.
Image credit: NRG Solar
ALTA WIND ENERGY CENTER
As the largest onshore wind farm in the US, the 1,548 megawatt Alta Wind Energy Center meets the power needs of 450,000 homes. Over the course of its lifetime, the facility will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 59 million metric tons – the equivalent of taking more than 500,000 cars off the road.
Image credit: Wikimedia/Z22user
IVANPAH SOLAR ENERGY GENERATING SYSTEM
Up to 100,000 homes can be powered by Ivanpah, the world’s largest concentrating solar power plant, which is based in the Mojave Desert in the US. Covering an area of five square miles, the solar project has a generating capacity of 392 megawatts thanks to 300,000 large, computer-controlled mirrors. The mirrors reflect sunlight onto boilers heating their water, producing steam. This steam is then used to turn turbines to generate electricity.
Image credit: NRG Energy
Located in the Thames Estuary, the London Array is the world’s largest offshore wind farm, comprising of 175 wind turbines. Spreading across one hundred square kilometers, the turbines, which are each 147 meters tall, collectively capture the sea breeze to harness enough electricity to power half a million homes. This photo, taken by the NASA Earth Observatory, shows how the massive project looks from space – each dot is an individual turbine.
Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory
CALIFORNIA VALLEY SOLAR RANCH
The California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) is one of the world’s largest solar PV plants, with a 250 megawatt capacity. Financed by a federal loan guarantee for US$1.2 billion from the US Department of Energy, the CVSR created more than 700 jobs over its two-year construction period. Aside from generating an estimated US$315 million for the local economy, the solar power plant takes 336,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere per year.
Image credit: SunPower
KAGOSHIMA NANATSUJIMA MEGA SOLAR POWER PLANT
Launched last November, this massive solar PV facility covers an area roughly the size of 27 baseball stadiums. With an annual output of 78,800 MW, the plant will be able to offset roughly 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, while also generating the equivalent power for 22,000 homes.
Image credit: Kyocera Corporation