from the world's big
The world's largest solar power project begins running in UAE
Will the small petrol state soon be solar powered?
- The United Arab Emirates is on a solar kick — it has just opened the world's largest solar farm.
- This is only one of several huge power plants they've opened recently.
- While the country is still heavily dependent on oil, the new solar plants may change things.
You might have heard that the United Arab Emirates is building a concentrated solar power plant that will keep the lights on after the sun goes down. While that might be impressive enough by itself, it isn't the only solar plant they have. In fact, they just opened up the world's largest conventional solar plant this week.
Let there be light from sunlight!
The world’s largest single solar plant, Noor Abu Dhabi, with a production capacity of nearly 1,177 MW commences co… https://t.co/3HK90vTp2w— المكتب الإعلامي لحكومة أبوظبي (@المكتب الإعلامي لحكومة أبوظبي)1561796620.0
Noor Abu Dhabi is the world's new largest individual solar power plant. Built at the cost of almost $900M, the plant contains 3.2 million solar panels. It will produce 1.17 gigawatts of power; enough to supply the needs of 90,000 people and reduce their yearly carbon emissions by 1,000,000 metric tons. This is the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the roads.
However, it will not make quite enough electricity to make a DeLorean go back in time.
How do other operations compare?
While Noor Abu Dhabi is the world's largest solar site, others come close. Shakti Sthala, in India, produces 2 gigawatts of power and Longyangxia Dam Solar Park in China has four million solar panels producing 850 megawatts. For comparison, the largest facility in the United States is Solar Star, which produces 569 megawatts of power.
The UAE better watch out though, because Saudi Arabia is working on a solar farm outside of Mecca that will produce 2.6 gigawatts of power when it's done.
Does this mean the UAE is going green?
Last year they opened the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and has been investing billions upon billions of dollars into solar power for a while now. The plan, according to the vice president of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, is to "balance our economic needs with our environmental goals."
According to the head of the Emirates Water and Electric Company, Mohammad Hassan Al Suwaidi, this solar plant is part of an ambitious program of cleaning up their energy sources:
"The completion of the project marks a significant milestone in the UAE's Energy Strategy 2050, launched in 2017, to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50 percent by 2050 while reducing the carbon footprint of power generation by 70 percent."
However, they are still very reliant on fossil fuels and take steps to keep the price of oil where they want it so their economy doesn't collapse.
This new solar farm is a step in the right direction, but it is still only a step.
As the nations of the world become more aware of the problems fossil fuels can cause they are increasingly turn to renewables. While the UAE isn't about to stop selling oil anytime soon, it has made a bold move toward a greener future with this solar plant. Will it one day be known for solar power rather than petroleum? Only time will tell.
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
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