The scale is off the charts! The Power of Renewable Energy in the World | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The scale is off the charts! The Power of Renewable Energy in the World

Latest Photo Report: Mega Solar Power Plants in India, Wind Power Generators in the U.S., and Monster Dams in China......

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A barren land where humans cannot live is now attracting attention as a power plant for natural energy.

One of the world’s largest groups of solar panels located in northwestern India. Special cleaning robots operate day and night to deal with the dust that is a problem in desert areas.

The photo above shows the Bhadra Solar Park, one of the world’s largest solar power generation facilities, which began operating in March last year. The facility, located in the Thar Desert in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, has about 10 million solar panels installed on a vast site that is more than 1,200 times the size of the Tokyo Dome.

It has a daily power generation capacity of 2245MW (megawatts). This is enough to cover the daily power consumption of about 6.9 million two-person households in Japan. Even the 750,000 solar panels in Mimasaka City, Okayama Prefecture, which boasts one of the highest power generation capacities in Japan, are not far behind with a daily power generation capacity of about 200 MW.

In addition, Palm Springs, a city in the southern state of California in the U.S., has about 2,000 wind turbines (7th photo), and the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant, is operating in Hubei Province, China (8th photo).

The world’s renewable energy power generation facilities are becoming increasingly huge. What are the factors behind this? International journalist Toshihiro Yamada tells us.

One of the reasons for the growth in size is the decline in power generation costs. Since global warming has become an international issue, there has been a series of technological innovations. For example, in 2012, it cost an average of $217 per hour to generate 1 MW of solar power, but in 2008, it cost $57. In eight years, the cost has dropped by about a quarter.

As a result, the burden of running costs has decreased even as we build more massive facilities. I believe that this trend toward larger facilities will continue. In fact, solar mega power facilities are scheduled to go into operation around the world next year, including the Nokh Solar Park (India), which will generate 925MW per day.

While countries are building huge renewable energy facilities in search of greater efficiency, wind power is the one that is attracting the most attention.

The biggest problem in building a huge facility is how to secure the site area. Wind power has an answer to that problem: the ocean. In fact, offshore wind power is expected to grow at the highest rate of all renewable energy facilities, with a total of 6 GW (gigawatts) of new capacity worldwide in 2008, but this is expected to grow to 80 GW by 2008. In the United Kingdom, in particular, there are large-scale projects.

In the United Kingdom, in particular, there is a flurry of large-scale projects, with a succession of “gigawatt” facilities that are larger than “megawatts. Hornsea 2, which will generate 1.4 GW of power and is scheduled to start operating in 2010, is the first of these.

There is no stopping the evolution of wind power.

Wind power generation in the Irish Sea

Wind power generation in the Irish Sea

The world’s largest offshore power generation facility began operating in September 2007. Eighty-seven giant generators, each about 190 meters high, are spread out over a vast area of ocean more than 3,000 times the size of Tokyo Dome.

Morocco] Ouarzazate – Solar thermal power generation

Morocco: Ouarzazate – Solar Thermal Power Generation

This is a “concentrator” solar thermal power plant that concentrates sunlight on a tower in the center of the plant by reflecting it off solar panels arranged in a circle. This is the first facility of its kind in Morocco.

China] Shukqian City, Jiangsu Province ● Solar power generation

China: Jiangsu Province, Shuxian City, China

A group of solar panels designed in the shape of a fish. In China, there are a number of power generation facilities with a playful spirit.

China] Datong City, Shanxi Province ● Solar power generation

Solar power generation in Datong, Shanxi Province, China.

This one is arranged with a panda motif. The city of Datong, Shanxi Province, China.

China] Jinan City, Shandong Province ●Photovoltaic power generation

China: Jinan City, Shandong Province: Solar power generation

An expressway lined with solar panels opened in 2005. In the future, it will be possible to charge electric vehicles while driving.

Palm Springs, California, USA Wind power generation

Wind power generation in Palm Springs, California, U.S.A.

There are a number of large-scale wind power plants in California. In the southern part of the state, at Tehachapi Pass, there is a huge facility with about 5,000 units covering the entire mountain.

The Three Gorges Dam, Yichang City, Hubei Province, China

China] Three Gorges Dam, Yichang City, Hubei Province ●Hydropower generation

The Three Gorges Dam is a monster dam capable of generating 22,500 MW of electricity, the largest in the world. With a large volume of water flowing in from the Yangtze River, the dam has a storage capacity of 39.3 billion m3, one of the largest in the world.

[Iceland] Köpravík – Geothermal power generation

Iceland] Köpravík – Geothermal Power Plant

One of the top-class power plants in Japan. The Blue Lagoon, a hot spring adjacent to the plant that uses the drainage from the pumped up underground thermal water, is also famous. Bathers can be seen in the foreground.

From the December 3, 2021 issue of FRIDAY

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