US announces cuts to greenhouse gas emissions

At the beginning of April, the US submitted plans to the UN to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% within 10 years. They were joined by over thirty other countries including all EU nations, Switzerland, Norway, Mexico, and Russia in submitting plans prior to this winter’s UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris. These countries currently account for 58% of emissions with the US responsible for 17% of that so these plans are a step in the right direction. However, India and Brazil, both major CO2 emitters, among other countries did not submit plans, though they may (hopefully) make formal commitments in future months before the meeting in Paris. The climate policy advisor for the US had positive comments, saying these goals proposed by the Obama administration are achievable. The US is already underway in working towards this goal. There are proposed plans to reduce CO2 emissions from coal-powered energy plants as well as methane emissions by at least 40% by 2025. Improved standards for fuel economy of cars and trucks have also been implemented. These plans are definitely noteworthy, especially in light of the recent political climate with Republicans criticizing the White House for bypassing Congress and having the EPA establish new power plant emission regulations. However, some say these steps are not enough. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations says much steeper cuts at power plants will be needed to meet these goals i.e. a 75% reduction in coal use at these plants, up from the 40% currently proposed. If these countries can meet their pledges, these cuts in emissions will go a long way towards keeping us at or below the 2 degree C increase limit, and it is optimistic that steps are already being taken to implement these plans.

This news is applicable to yesterday’s climate negotiations in class. That activity was eye opening to how quickly and how much needs to be done to keep us below that 2 degree limit. It is definitely a good sign that these plans have been submitted but will they be enough, especially since some fast developing countries have not committed? It would be interesting to run the program we used to see how successful these goals are. The negotiations this winter are expected to produce a global commitment that will be implemented by 2020. Although, based on yesterday’s results, coming up with an agreement will undoubtedly be difficult. This UN conference is the 21st annual meeting since the first UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 and the 11th since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. 196 countries will be in Paris to attempt to create an agreement that will take productive action on climate change. This year seems hopeful as significant breakthroughs have been seen since the chaotic meeting in 2009 in Copenhagen. Efforts by both the US and China, among other countries, also provide some optimism. Many countries are working towards a feasible outcome that will enable individual countries to act due to a framework that will make it easier for nations to work together. Success at these negotiations will also give a clear signal to businesses to invest in low carbon outcomes. It seems that implementing a global commitment within five years and reductions of emissions within ten years will begin definitive action to mitigate climate change.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/150331-climate-change-greenhouse-gases-Obama-administration/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_United_Nations_Climate_Change_Conference

http://www.green-alliance.org.uk/resources/Paris%202015-getting%20a%20global%20agreement%20on%20climate%20change.pdf

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Green Roofs – Growing Popularity

France approved a law in March that requires the roofs of new commercial buildings be covered—at least in part—by either Green_Roof_Layersv2solar panels or plants. Green roofs, roofs covered in vegitation, have an isolating effect, helping reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building in winter and cool it in summer. They also retain rainwater, thus helping reduce problems with runoff, while favoring biodiversity and giving birds a place to nest in the urban jungle, ecologists say.

Green roofs have many environmental benefits, especially in urban settings. First, they help reduce energy use. Green roofs absorb heat and act as insulators for buildings, reducing energy needed to provide cooling and heating. Many conventionalgreen-roof-save-money-1 roofs are made of black tar, attracting and absorbing heat and adding to the ‘urban heat island’ effect in cities. Green Roofs also reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. By lowering air conditioning demand, green roofs can decrease the production of associated air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Vegetation can also remove air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions through dry deposition and carbon sequestration and storage. In addition, they are a tool for stormwater management and improved water quality. Where much of the landscape is impermeable concrete, green roofs can reduce and slow storm water runoff in the urban environment. They also filter pollutants from rainfall.

Although more expensive to install initially, green roofs last longer than conventional ones.
Because green roofs protect thed92165596b0e083ece4be07fca13e6cf roof membrane from harsh weather and UV radiation, they can last twice as long traditional roofs. Money is then also saved on energy costs. Green roofs can also add aesthetic value or be used for food production. From usable gardens to large scale farms, green roofs can provide more use than just environmental benefit.

France is following in the footsteps of some other major cities and countries by implementing this law. Toronto, Canada and Basel, Switzerland also require green roofs on all new commercial buildings, for example. Green roofs in cities can help reduce urban heat islands and also help with water quality and storm water runoff issues. Laws requiring solar or vegetation on roofs of newly constructed buildings is a trend that should continue to many more cities across the world. As the majority of population lives in urban settings and most of the worlds CO2 emissions are emitted from cities, it seems like a very sensible law.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/energy/2015/03/150328-green-roofs-france-buildings-energy/#/

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/20/france-decrees-new-rooftops-must-be-covered-in-plants-or-solar-panels

http://www.epa.gov/heatisland/mitigation/greenroofs.htm

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/green-rooftop.htm

Earth Science Information Partners – Acquiring, Managing and Utilizing Data

One of the greatest advantages we have with all this “cheap” carbon energy is our technological advancement and ability to acquire more knowledge about our system. We are able to imagine, engineer, create, gather and analyse information like never before. This flood of data that we are obtaining, especially in the Earth Sciences arena, can be extraordinarily useful, but also quite overwhelming. Analyzing various satellite and in situ measurements of temperature, precipitation, soil type, land cover and land use, is imperative to identify patterns and begin to understand how our system is reacting to and participating in concentrations of greenhouse gases.

The sheer amount of data we have is overwhelming. For NASA missions alone, hundreds of terabytes are gathered every hour. Just one terabyte is equivalent to the information printed on 50,000 trees worth of paper, and all of this information is potentially useful, in helping us to predict and manage our world – if we can sift through it. I have had the privilege of working with an organization that is working on generating data as well as making these data useful. Working with Earth Science Information Partners Federation (ESIP Fed) has given me hope for the future of climate-data world.

ESIP Fed is comprised of many different work groups and work clusters, and the cluster that I am involved with is specifically the Agriculture and Climate Cluster. Since January, I have worked with the cluster to discuss and identify data sources and inventories related to Agriculture, and specifically data that are useful for agricultural adaptation and management for responding to and mitigating climate change. One such data inventory that we have been involved with recently is the Climate Resilience Toolkit (CRT). This toolkit is able to be utilized by farmers (or any “end users”) to help sift through important datasets that could be useful in making management decisions.

The goals set by the CRT team are as follows:

  • Moving from data acquisition to action
  • Provide things that will help with risk and uncertainty
  • Help to look at things from a value perspective
  • Provide decision making building blocks, and relat the data to what people care about

The CRT presents information and data in an easy-to-utilize form by highlighting case studies. Users can look at problems that other people are solving in relation to climate resilience and see the datasets and tools that could be utilized to take action. For example, farmers may be interested in precipitation data as it results to potential drought, which they can access through the Climate Explorer tool to see how this information may be useful in helping them with resilience:

CRT

Climate Resilience Toolkit: climate.data.gov accessed April 2015

The CRT is just one exciting way to think about utilizing Earth Science data. There are many other groups and clusters in ESIP Fed working on different aspects of obtaining data, managing data, and utilizing data related to Earth Sciences. Envirosensing (looking at instruments and tools we have currently to collect information about our environment), Data Stewardship (managing data and metadata such that it is easily usable), Disaster Response, and even a recently formed Drone Cluster, combining the engineering expertise of Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) engineers with researchers to obtain higher resolution remotely sensed data.

ESIP Fed brings together large organizations like NASA, NOAA and the USGS along with researchers and decision makers, and I believe that these collaborations will help to acquire more data about our earth system, manage that data so that it is usable and helpful for us all to answer questions about our Earth system especially in relation to understanding the patterns and affects of our climate. The more collaborations of this level, the more hope I have for the future.

Pumping the brakes on accelerated warming due to permafrost thaw

A recent scientific synthesis of permafrost carbon dynamics, published by lead author Ted Schurr and other scientists from the Permafrost Carbon Network (PCN: http://www.permafrostcarbon.org/) on April 9th, 2015 in Nature, predicts greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide and methane) release from thawing permafrost soils will be a more drawn out process than originally believed. Figure 1 (dashed line) shows the predicted potential carbon release from the thawing of Arctic and sub-Arctic permafrost soils estimated by the study (92 ± 17 Pg C by 2100), which the authors arrived at by averaging estimates from several studies conducted by PCN working groups. The majority of these studies ran their simulations based on Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 – the worst-case climate change scenario in the latest IPCC report (AR5).

Blog2_image_modelling

Figure 1. Model estimates of cumulative carbon emissions from permafrost thawing (from Schuur et al. 2015 – see additional image caption).

It is important to emphasize that the authors still predict a significant increase in atmospheric carbon from permafrost thaw over time – but how does this new information change our way of thinking regarding the emission rate? The pervasive view of the past was that the accelerated warming of permafrost soils, which have risen in temperature almost 11 degrees Fahrenheit from 18° to 28° over the past 30 years alone, would result in a large release of carbon into our atmosphere (a carbon “bomb”). According to co-author A. David McGuire, U.S. Geological Survey senior scientist and climate modeling expert with the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, “The data from our team’s syntheses don’t support the permafrost carbon bomb view. What our syntheses do show is that permafrost carbon is likely to be released in a gradual and prolonged manner, and that the rate of release through 2100 is likely to be of the same order as the current rate of tropical deforestation in terms of its effects on the carbon cycle.”

The authors further note in their analysis, “Our expert judgement is that estimates made by independent approaches, including laboratory incubations, dynamic models, and expert assessment, seem to be converging on, 5%–15% of the terrestrial permafrost carbon pool being vulnerable to release in the form of greenhouse gases during this century under the current warming trajectory, with CO2-carbon comprising the majority of the release. There is uncertainty, but the vulnerable fraction does not appear to be twice as high or half as much as 5%–15%, based on this analysis. Ten percent of the known terrestrial permafrost carbon pool is equivalent to,130–160 Pg carbon. That amount, if released primarily in the form of CO2 at a constant rate over a century, would make it similar in magnitude to other historically important biospheric sources, such as land use change (0.960.5 Pg carbon per year; 2003–2012 average), but far less than fossil-fuel emissions (9.760.5 Pg carbon per year in 2012).”

This is good news, as the carbon bomb theory holds that the Earth’s warming climate will be significantly accelerated as large amounts of previously-frozen carbon are abruptly thawed and released into the atmosphere via aerobic and anaerobic soil respiration (microbial processes). However, these initial models did not account for increased carbon uptake by plants as thaw increases and the growing season lengthens, or that newly-formed lakes and wetlands from abrupt thaw would accumulate new carbon under anaerobic conditions (see Figure 2 for a depiction of this cycle). These factors are accounted for in the new synthesis described here, leading to the protracted estimate of GHG emissions from permafrost thaw.

Blog2_image_permafrostccycle

Figure 2. The updated carbon dynamics of permafrost thaw from Schuur et al 2015 (see additional image caption).

So what’s the upshot? Essentially, the new estimates allow us more time to develop and implement carbon mitigation strategies to avoid accelerated future warming of the planet. If we also bear in mind that the majority of the emissions estimates used in this study were conducted under the worst-case RCP scenario, there is much hope to be found in our ability to find technological and lifestyle-based solutions under this new time-frame. This is particularly true given human sources of GHG emissions, notably fossil fuel burning and land use change, remain more pertinent to short-term carbon dynamics. The next step is to implement the new permafrost models into the global climate change models constructed by the IPCC. This is imperative to knowing the scope of climate mitigation needed, as noted by McGuire, “If society’s goal is to try to keep the rise in global temperatures under two degrees C and we haven’t taken permafrost carbon release into account in terms of mitigation efforts, then we might underestimate that amount of mitigation effort required to reach that goal.”

Sources:

E. A. G. Schuur, A. D. McGuire, C. Schädel, G. Grosse, J. W. Harden, D. J. Hayes, G. Hugelius, C. D. Koven, P. Kuhry, D. M. Lawrence, S. M. Natali, D. Olefeldt, V. E. Romanovsky, K. Schaefer, M. R. Turetsky, C. C. Treat, J. E. Vonk. Climate change and the permafrost carbon feedback. Nature, 2015; 520 (7546): 171 DOI: 10.1038/nature14338

University of Alaska Fairbanks. “Scientists predict gradual, prolonged permafrost greenhouse gas emissions, allowing us more time to adapt.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150408133047.htm>.

IPCC AR5: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/index.shtml


Communicating Optimism: April 13th week in review

This week we have been learning about communicating the science of climate change to the public in an effective manner. One important aspect of successful communication is balancing the urgency and intensity of climate change with an appropriate amount of optimism and hope as well. Media headlines on climate change are mostly doom and gloom and it takes a little bit of looking to find optimistic news. Over the past semester, we have reported on many exciting innovations, scientific breakthroughs, and political steps forward on the climate change front. It is inspiring even knowing what we know as scientists.

From local to global, things are moving. Harvard University students in Divest Harvard staged an action to prevent the president from entering her office. Having an ivy league with a $36 billion dollar endowment adds to the legitimacy of the grassroots movement. They have alumni support pushing for a political counterpoint against big oil; still, many say boycott, divestments, and sanctions have little positive world impact. (NPR, April 13, 2015)

Grassroots aside, China and Germany made headlines this week for their energy progressions. China’s move away from coal has been significant, with coal imports falling by nearly half. The Gaurdian stated, “Imports by the world’s biggest coal consumer reached 49.07 m tonnes in the first quarter, a fall of 42% on the same period a year ago according to data from the Chinese customs office.” With stricter air-pollution regulation and a slowing economy, China has cut back on coal faster than anyone imagined. This is huge for the global economy and global environment (plus the people must be happy for cleaner air and cleaner energy).

Meanwhile, Germany is doing fabulous, proving to the world that renewable energy is awesome. Many skeptics (cough*oil industry*cough) say renewables are bad because they are so intermittent and too unstable to support a large system (No sunshine? No wind?). Germany with all of its industry and high standards of living, now has a power grid with around 28% renewable energy, up to 40% in some areas. This system is proving to be more stable than most nuclear and coal-powered grids in France and Poland. Outages totaled 15 minutes in Germany, 68 minutes in France, and four hours in Poland.

On the global scale, new science has come out and the way it is communicated is essential. For the audience that knows the climate science, this could be a piece of optimism. In my opinion, it would be difficult to communicate to the public in a well-balanced manner. The news headline reads that ‘Permafrost may not be the ticking “carbon bomb” scientists thought’. As we know, permafrost thawing in organic Arctic soils accelerated by increased temperatures is a global-scale feedback on climate change. The paper explains that new evidence does not support the “eruption” of carbon from permafrost thaw, but instead may be more of a slow leak. This is especially optimistic because it means we have time to act; however, it could be interpreted, as “oh I don’t need to worry about this feedback at all then.” This is not the case, instead let’s take this kind of news as an opportunity to cease the science and act before the slow leak is heated to the point of an eruption. Overall – when we learn and read about what is happening in the climate change movement and science, it is critical we think about the stories we communicate with the people around us.

Sources:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/13/chinas-coal-imports-fall-nearly-half-in-12-months-as-anti-pollution-drive-bites

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-12/germany-proves-life-with-less-fossil-fuel-getting-easier

http://www.npr.org/2015/04/13/399414399/harvard-students-block-campus-building-to-push-fossil-fuel-divestment

http://grist.org/science/permafrost-may-not-be-the-ticking-carbon-bomb-scientists-once-thought/

Obama plans to train 75,000 new solar workers!

On Friday, April 3rd, President Obama announced plans to train 75,000 people to work in the solar industry by 2020. The Administration announced that this plan will help to set the U.S. on its path to reach the target of cutting net greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, a goal that was submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change last week (another piece of optimistic news!).

In 2014, Obama planned to train 50,000 solar workers, so this announcement indicates an increase from his first plan. Since that original statement, more than 30,000 students have been trained in the last five years through a program through the Department of Energy called the SunShot Initiative.

According to the White House fact sheet on this announcement, the Obama Administration has already taken action around increasing the use of solar energy in our country. The Department of Defense broke ground on a 15-megawatt solar project at Fort Detrick in Maryland, which is enough to power 2,500 homes for one year. The Navy is planning to contract 500 MW of renewable energy projects during 2015. This past February, the White House and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development met with leaders in finance and philanthropy to discuss ways to create opportunities for solar financing for affordable housing.

Solar energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the USA. In 2014, one out of every 78 jobs created in the US was in the solar industry. U.S. solar-installed capacity has increased seventeen fold since 2008, enough to power the equivalent of 4 million average-sized American homes. The cost of solar has also been decreasing due to investments in research and manufacturing innovation.

In order to meet the goal of 75,000 new workers, many of the new trainees will be military veterans who are part of an initiative called Solar Ready Vets. Solar Ready Vets will train servicemen and women who are transitioning from active duty to the workforce. Training will involve how to install solar panels, how to connect solar panels to the electric grid, and how to make solar projects comply with building codes. This accelerated training will prepare vets for jobs as installers, sales representatives, system inspectors, and other solar-related jobs. The training will take place at 10 military bases around the country.

Andrea Luecke, the president and executive director of the Solar Foundation, explained that the newly trained workers won’t actually increase the size of the workforce in the solar industry, but will enable the industry to find highly skilled workers in the field. Right now the industry is experiencing difficulty finding skilled and qualified workers. She said that only more demand for solar power projects will increase the number of jobs.

I was pleased to read about this announcement, because overall, I have felt disappointed with Obama’s progress in combatting climate change, especially since addressing climate change was part of the platform on which he ran. He has supported fracking in the U.S., which was troubling to me, and this announcement finally represents some forward-thinking action. The fact that a program is being set up specifically to train veterans in high-skilled jobs is excellent, especially since, according to Solar Ready Vets, 190,000 veterans will be leaving the military each year for the next several years. I hope that in addition to matching highly skilled workers with the gaps in the solar industry, that demand for solar power projects increases.

Sources:

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/obama-announces-plan-to-train-75000-solar-workers-18854

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/03/fact-sheet-administration-announces-actions-drive-growth-solar-energy-an

http://energy.gov/eere/sunshot/solar-ready-vets

Solar Panels Floating on Water Will Power Japan’s Homes

Reprinted from Solar Panels Floating on Water Will Power Japan’s Homes. More solar power plants are being built on water, but is this such a good idea?

Nowadays, bodies of water aren’t necessarily something to build around—they’re something to build on. They sport not just landfills and man-made beaches but also, in a nascent global trend, massive solar power plants.

Clean energy companies are turning to lakes, wetlands, ponds, and canals as building grounds for sunlight-slurping photovoltaic panels. So far, floating solar structures have been announced in, among other countries, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, and Italy.

The biggest floating plant, in terms of output, will soon be placed atop the reservoir of Japan’s Yamakura Dam in Chiba prefecture, just east of Tokyo. When completed in March 2016, it will cover 180,000 square meters, hold 50,000 photovoltaic solar panels, and power nearly 5,000 households. It will also offset nearly 8,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. (Since the EPA estimates a typical car releases 4.7 tons of CO2 annually, that’s about 1,700 cars’ worth of emissions.)

The Yamakura Dam project is a collaboration by Kyocera (a Kyoto-headquartered electronics manufacturer), Ciel et Terre (a French company that designs, finances, and operates photovoltaic installations), and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation.

So, why build solar panels on water instead of just building them on land? Placing the panels on a lake or reservoir frees up surrounding land for agricultural use, conservation, or other development. With these benefits, though, come challenges.

Solar Enters New Territory

“Overall, this is a very interesting idea. If successful, it will bring a huge impact,” says Yang Yang, a professor of engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles who specializes in photovoltaic solar panels. “However, I do have concerns of its safety against storms and other natural disasters, not to mention corrosion.”

Unlike a solar installation on the ground or mounted on a rooftop, floating solar energy plants present relatively new difficulties. For one thing, everything needs to be waterproofed, including the panels and wiring. Plus, a giant, artificial contraption can’t just be dropped into a local water supply without certain precautions, such as adherence to regulations on water quality—a relevant concern, particularly if the structure starts to weather away.

“That is one reason we chose Ciel et Terre’s floating platforms, which are 100 percent recyclable and made of high-density polyethylene that can withstand ultraviolet rays and corrosion,” says Ichiro Ikeda, general manager of Kyocera’s solar energy marketing division.

To make sure the platforms could withstand the whims of Mother Nature, Ciel et Terre’s research and development team brought in the big guns: a wind tunnel at Onera, the French aerospace lab. The company’s patented Hydrelio system—those polyethylene “frames” that cradle the solar panels—was subjected to very high wind conditions that matched hurricane speeds. The system resisted winds of up to 118 miles per hour.

Why Japan Could Be the Perfect Spot

Given its weather, why build floating solar panels in the storm-filled, Ring of Fire-hugging Land of the Rising Sun? The reason: Many nations could benefit from floating solar power. And Japan is their poster child.

The largely mountainous archipelago of Japan suffers from a lack of usable land, meaning there’s less room for anything to be built, let alone a large-scale solar plant. However, the nation is rich in reservoirs, since it has a sprawling rice industry to irrigate, so more solar energy companies in Japan are favoring liquid over land for construction sites. Suddenly, inaccessible terrain becomes accessible.

Kyocera’s Ikeda says available land in Japan is especially hard to come by these days, as the number of ground-based solar plants in the country has skyrocketed in the past few years.

But, he added, “the country has many reservoirs for agricultural and flood-control purposes. There is great potential in carrying out solar power generation on these water surfaces.”

In Japan’s case, Ciel et Terre says that the region’s frequent seismic fits aren’t cause for concern, either. In fact, they illustrate another benefit that floating solar panels have over their terrestrial counterparts, the company says.

“Earthquakes have no impacts on the floating photovoltaic system, which has no foundation and an adequate anchoring system that ensures its stability,” says Eva Pauly, international business manager at Ciel et Terre. “That’s a big advantage in a country like Japan.”

Solar’s Potential Ecological Impact

Floating solar panel manufacturers hope their creations replace more controversial energy sources.

“Japan needs new, independent, renewable energy sources after the Fukushima disaster,” says Pauly. “The country needs more independent sources of electricity after shutting down the nuclear power and relying heavily on imported liquid gas.”

This up-and-coming aquatic alternative impacts organisms living in the water, though. The structure stymies sunlight penetration, slowly making the water cooler and darker. This can halt algae growth, for example, which Ciel et Terre project manager Lise Mesnager says “could be either positive or negative.” If there’s too much algae in the water, the shadow-casting floating panels might be beneficial; if the water harbors endangered species, they could harm them.

“It is really important for the operator to have a good idea of what kind of species can be found in the water body,” Mesnager says.

Since companies must follow local environmental rules, these solar plants are usually in the center of the water, away from banks rich with flora and fauna. Plus, companies might prefer building in man-made reservoirs instead of natural ones, as the chances of harming the area’s biodiversity are smaller.

Could the Future Include Salt Water?

More than three-quarters of our planet is ocean, which might present alternative energy companies a blank canvas on which to dot more buoyant energy farms. But moving floating panels to the open sea is still in the future. Kyocera’s Ikeda says it would bring up a whole new realm of issues, from waves to changing water levels, which could lead to damage and disrupted operations.

Ciel et Terre is experimenting with salt water-friendly systems in Thailand, but ocean-based plants might be impractical, as offshore installations are costly, and it’s more logical to produce electricity closer to where it’ll be used.

For now, companies are aiming to build floating energy sources that conserve limited space, are cheaper than solar panels on terra firma, and are, above all, efficient. Ciel et Terre says that since its frames keep Kyocera’s solar panels cool, the floating plant could generate up to 20 percent more energy than a typical ground system does.

The Yamakura Dam project might be the world’s biggest floating solar plant, but it wasn’t the first-and it almost certainly won’t be the last.

Sources                       http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2015/01/150116-floating-solar-power-japan-yamakura/

Underwater Aussie Wave Farm Pumps both Power and Wate

The idea for using moving water as a source of power or energy has been around for decades. At one Australian naval base, the oceans motion or tides (waves) are being put into use to generate electricity and pump potable water, while also generating zero emissions. The company Carnegie Wave Energy Limited has been working on the idea since 2003 and the first prototype (CETO I) provided the proof of concept when completed in 2005. By 2008, three CETO II prototypes were developed and tested in their facility, but were only 1kW units. An 80kW unit was developed by 2011 and results from this prototype helped them commence the launch of three 240kW CETO 5 units on a full scale at the Garden Island site. These three units were connected in a array and attached to the grid in order to sell both potable water and electricity to the Australian Department of Defense, who operated the naval base on the island. A_CETO+5+to+CETO+6+v2

This technology is different than previous water power generators. It sits underneath the water at the bottom of the ocean floor, held down by a foundation, letting the Buoyant Actuators float as far as the tether allows them to. This not only hides the generators from view for aesthetic purposes, but also protects the devices from heavy storm events that could damage them. Once the water is pumped back to land it drives a reverse osmosis process within a facility’s filtration system which desalinates the water making it potable. Recent droughts due to the changing climate is making it more difficult to obtain fresh drinking water in different areas around the world. If the oceans can provide potable water for thousands, if not millions of people while also providing energy, it can be a very big game changer in the upcoming climate obstacles were going to face. With no byproduct or fuel needed, our reliance on fossil fuels to produce energy and chemicals for filtering our water is eliminated. In 2016, Carnegie hopes to develop the 1MW CETO 6 unit, generating even more electricity and proving the advancement of these devices is viable for our future. As technology grows throughout the world, the generators can continue to grow and change to be even more efficient and suitable to different areas around the world.

Carnegie Wave Energy Limited: http://www.carnegiewave.com/ceto-technology/ceto-overview.html 

Underwater Aussie Farm Article: http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/17/underwater-aussie-wave-farms-pump-both-power-and-water/?ncid=rss_truncated 

Video on grid connection from generators: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezPzBoPoosI