Scotland’s Wind Power Enough for 5 Million Homes

Attempts at finding alternative energy sources to fossil fuels might seem like everyday news—of course not futile, still of course productive and necessary, though less surprising. Every so often, some efforts make the world extra proud, extra green, and extra clean, like perhaps seeing the biofuel potential of kelp farms in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean and running an entire school in Denmark solely through solar power.

Today, one groundbreaking (or windbreaking?) story brings us a breath of fresh air. Scotland has achieved another wind power record by supplying energy equivalent to the usage of five million homes.

“Renewables have provided an incredible amount of power during the first three months of this year,” Dr. Sam Gardner, WWF Scotland’s acting director, said in a statement. “An increase of 44 percent on the record-breaking equivalent period in 2017 is clear evidence the investment made in this technology has paid off for the economy and the environment, putting Scotland at the forefront of the fight against climate change.”

In the first quarter of 2018, 5.3 million megawatt hours of energy were generated by Scotland’s wind turbines. March 1, considered so far as the best day in the country for wind power, produced 110,000 megawatt-hours of energy that could have provided for 173 percent of the nation’s entire electricity demand.

But WWF Scotland’s acting director is not only proud; he wants the potential of the country’s wind power production to serve as a call to action for the rest of the UK.

“If Scotland’s full renewables potential is to be unleashed to power our economy, heat our homes and charge our cars, then the UK government needs to stop excluding the cheapest forms of power, like onshore wind and solar, from the market,” he said.

With this record and all its implications for Scotland’s—and perhaps the UK’s—future, not only is Scotland taking our breath away, it is set to take the world by windstorm.

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Apple Now Powered by Clean Energy

Corporate giants like McDonalds (along with other fast food chains) and Google (along with other tech companies) have been participating in the global venture towards turning green. Recently, another giant techie has joined the cause: Apple has announced that its operations are now completely powered by renewable energy. The company claims that all of its shops, offices, and data centers across 43 different countries are part of the program.

“We’re committed to leaving the world better than we found it. After years of hard work we’re proud to have reached this significant milestone,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

“We’re going to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the materials in our products, the way we recycle them, our facilities and our work with suppliers to establish new creative and forward looking sources of renewable energy because we know the future depends on it.”

In a similar vein, Apple has also built an Apple Park campus completely powered by solar energy, as well as other wind and solar projects in China to help counteract its manufacturing wastes. However, Apple products still come from suppliers that the Apple company does not have complete control over. In response to this, the giant has been active in encouraging its suppliers to improve their standards, inclusive of labor conditions and environmental work.

It has encouraged suppliers to follow its lead in using renewable energy, it said, and now 23 of them are committed to working on green power.

If corporate competition between biggies in various industries like food and tech keep happening on the green stage, then one victor would always emerge for sure: our environment. Let’s just hope the battle continues.

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Germany Gifts Households With Free Wind Energy

Rarely does a community experience a surplus of energy — much less clean energy. In fact, rural areas are still depending solely on whatever they can gather from eco-boxes. Germany, on the other hand, may be the first to boast an energy overflow. As it happens, in a single weekend, the country produced enough wind energy to provide households with extra — for free!

[Bloomberg], which tracks daily wind power in Europe, said that over 24 per cent of the EU’s electricity demand was powered by wind on Saturday, the highest per cent ever recorded.

Wind farms amassed an impressive output of 39,409 megawatts altogether. That’s almost equally as shocking as electricity itself. But considering much of Germany’s power grid is wind-generated, everything falls perfectly into place.

Offshore wind accounted for 2.8 per cent of the EU’s electricity demand while onshore wind accounted for 21.8 per cent. Wind represented 61 per cent of electricity demand in Germany.

Good weather may have played a hand in helping Germany strike gold (or air) — but its eco-initiatives surely take the cake.

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Deep Water Wind Farm Is Powering The Scottish Grid

Following the success of solar power, developers have been harvesting clean energy from other sources. Now that we can accumulate electricity through passing vehicles and even cow excrement, nothing else seems far-fetched. Wind power may be nothing new, but these floating offshore turbines are the first of their kind.

The 30MW installation… will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters… where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible. At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 Scottish homes.

The irony behind the nautical wind farm is its contractor — Statoil. The company is a corporate giant notorious for oil drilling. It’s somewhat of a paradox, but I’m a fan. Statoil claims that the wind farm’s offshore location is also beneficial.

The farther out you can place offshore turbines, the steadier and faster the wind is. It also comes with the added benefit of avoiding any community arguments over clean ocean views… [also] unimaginably large rotor components can be delivered by sea rather than by land, where roads have weight limits.

In the end, Statoil is living proof that you can easily give back what you take from nature. While we’d rather leave Mother Nature alone entirely, compensation is better than nothing.

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Battery Breathes Air And Stores Energy For Months

From powering homes to treating cancer, the simple battery has come a long way. To up the ante of renewable energy sources, MIT has developed an air-breathing battery that stores energy at zero emissions.

“This battery literally inhales and exhales air, but it doesn’t exhale carbon dioxide, like humans — it exhales oxygen,” says Yet-Ming Chiang, the Kyocera Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT.

Cost of production is 1/30th that of regular lithium-ion batteries. Over five years, researchers experimented with various materials such as sulfur and potassium permanganate. While its impact was a priority, pricing was also heavily considered.

“It’s a creative and interesting new concept that could potentially be an ultra-low-cost solution for grid storage,”

In the end, the battery is definitely the first of its kind and is not only unique, but highly efficient.

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Air Humidity: A New Source Of Electricity?

If all it takes to generate energy nowadays is a walk and a bit of sweat, it should come as no surprise that it’s also possible to create electricity out of thin air. Or, rather, air that is slightly humid.

[Biophysicist professor Ozgur Sahin’s] laboratory has developed one kind of ‘evaporation engine’, which works by using the movement of bacteria in response to changes in humidity.

Shutters either opened or closed to control moisture levels, prompting bacterial spores to expand or contract. This motion is then transferred to a generator and turned into electricity.

With technologies to convert wind, water, and heat into energy, it seems anything has the potential to do the same. As with anything in its early stages, researchers are treading carefully so as not to affect water resources. However, the machines may be a saving grace to drought-prone areas, as they reduce water loss.

“Some… regions suffer from periods of water stress and scarcity, which might favour implementation of these energy harvesting systems due to the reduction of evaporative losses.”

According to recent calculations, the technology could save 25 trillion gallons of water a year. It’s a godsend, considering how many people aren’t willing to give up hot, hourlong showers. It’s also a harsh reminder that we ought to do our part as consumers.

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Richard Branson To Rebuild A Greener Caribbean

With Alphabet and Tesla taking over damage control on Puerto Rico, the Caribbean islands are waiting patiently in the wings. Struck by two category 5 hurricanes in the span of a few months, the territory is a war-zone. Stepping in to rebuild a more sustainable paradise is British billionaire Richard Branson.

“Another storm could strike within the coming weeks,” Branson told a meeting of leaders in Washington earlier this month. “The Caribbean must seize the opportunity and take the leap from 20th-century technology to 21st-century innovation.”

The project, dubbed the “Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan” hopes to bring clean energy into the country. So far, it’s best bet is to invest in wind and solar. Comparing the damage to that caused by a nuclear blast, Branson hopes not only to help the islands recover, but transform.

“We want to move the Caribbean countries into clean energy and make them more sustainable, which will make dealing with hurricanes much easier,” he said. “The Caribbean Heads of State agree with one voice that this is a good idea.”

As with any disaster, finding an efficient way to recuperate takes priority. But future prevention is by far the closest second.

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Chernobyl Wasteland To Boast Solar Farm

Solar power exists everywhere — in highways and even infrastructure. It can withstand extreme conditions, or at least as far as we know. Now, two Chinese companies are testing that theory, setting out to build a solar farm on the remains of Chernobyl.

“It is cheap land, and abundant sunlight constitutes a solid foundation for the project,” says Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s minister of environment and natural resources.

After years of battling radiation, Chernobyl has apparently become a breeding ground for new possibilities. Golden Concord Holdings and Sinomach will be spearheading the formidable project, which will cover 2,500 hectares.

“There will be remarkable social benefits and economical ones as we try to renovate the once-damaged area with green and renewable energy,” says Shu Hua, chairman of the GLC subsidiary.

As it welcomes hundreds of tourists a year, Chernobyl’s progress is slow but steady. Home to dozens of animal species, the once-toxic ghost town is finally making its comeback.

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St. Louis To Go 100% Renewable By 2035

To salvage deteriorating resources, nations worldwide are setting ambitious eco-goals in a short span of time. By 2012, Costa Rica hopes to phase out single-use plastic products. For the first time in 70 years, Kazakhstan is reintroducing wild tigers into its cat-barren jungles. Not to be left out of the loop, St. Louis is swearing off fossil fuels in an attempt to go fully renewable by 2035.

“It can be a win-win for everyone. We can protect health. We can improve air, we can improve water. We can address climate change. We can save people money on their bills. Why wouldn’t we be moving in that direction?” said [Sara Edgar of Sierra Club.]

St. Louis is among just over 40 cities that have pledged to rely solely on wind and solar energy. For decades, the city has remained a top contributor to health issues caused by smog. It’s now clear that its local government is hoping to make a more positive name for the tourist spot.

“Some of the things that Donald Trump has done since he became commander in chief just goes against everything that I stand [for], that the people of St. Louis stand for,” [said St. Louis President Lewis Reed.]

Yikes. Trump better watch his back — it’s obvious St. Louis isn’t rolling back on its own environmental safeguards!

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Google Breaks Record As Biggest Clean Energy Buyer

While countries like Australia rely almost entirely on renewable energy, rural communities still bank on eco-boxes. Nonetheless, things may be taking a positive turn sooner rather than later. After acquiring 536 megawatts of wind power, Google is now the largest corporate purchaser of renewables.

Google’s “electricity consumption is considerable, but for them to meet that already by buying renewable energy is a huge achievement,” [said] Kyle Harrison, a New York-based analyst at BNEF.

Considering its following, Google hopes to inspire other agencies to go green. Already, tech giants like Apple are shadowing the feat in an attempt to go 100% renewable. Overall, Google has procured 3,186 megawatts of power.

“Google is buying renewable energy across three continents, and has paved the way for dozens of other companies,” Harrison said.

Many others jumping on the bandwagon likely won’t surpass Google as number one consumer, but hey. It’s a trend that’s hopefully here to stay.

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