Stepping stones to a sustainable economy

19 May 2020

National Grid data shows that continuous time in the UK without using coal for electricity now stands
at 38 days. Our reliance on coal for electricity has reached very low levels in recent years, having fallen from
70% in 1990 to under 3% in 2020. Let’s have a look at other projects around the globe that are paving the way to a sustainable economy.
The world’s largest offshore wind farm Energy companies Equinor and SSE have joined forces to create a multi-million pound operations and maintenance base in the Port of Tyne in the north east of England. It will serve the Dogger Bank wind farm, which will have a capacity of 3.6 GW and will provide electricity to more
than 4.5 million homes in the UK once it’s fully operational. The construction of the wind farm began in January by SSE Renewables, a company headquartered in Scotland. The project is to be completed in phases, with the first phase, Dogger Bank A, due to be operational by 2023.
Equinor, a Norwegian energy company, will build the operations and maintenance base. Electricity generated by renewables in the UK now makes up over a third of our electricity and provides thousands of jobs. Projects like Dogger Bank will be a key part of ensuring a green and resilient economic recovery and will assist in our target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Tidal power in the Faroe Islands The Faroe Islands are an island group consisting of 18 major islands and 779 smaller islands, islets, and skerries located about 400 miles off the coast of Northern Europe, between the
Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. Last month Minesto, a Swedish marine energy technology developer, and the Faroese power producer SEV, announced their intention to install two grid-connected tidal kite systems in the Vestmannasund strait, located in the north west of the Faroe Islands. The archipelago will be the site of a trial that uses tidal ‘kite’ technology in the production of scalable, clean energy at a competitive cost. The concept of flying a kite is transferred to the ocean to produce electricity.
The underwater current is harnessed, creating a hydrodynamic lift force on the system’s wings, pushing it upwards. The ‘kite’ is steered in a figure-of-eight trajectory by an onboard control system and a rudder. As it moves, water flows through the turbine and produces electricity. The tidal-kite technology will be launched in the Faroe Islands this summer and should go a long way towards SEV’s ambitious goal of producing 100% green energy by the year 2030.
Closure of Dakota’s largest power plant The Coal Creek Station facility is located around 50 miles north of Bismarck, employs 260 people and uses approximately 22,000 tons of lignite each day. According to Great River Energy, it is the largest power plant in North Dakota, producing 1,151 megawatts (MW) of coal power and is responsible for 4% of total coal production in the US. Since coal has lost value compared to other
alternatives in recent years, the decision has been made to close the plant in 2022. Great River Energy operates as a not-for-profit cooperative and is now looking to invest $1.2 billion to purchase over 1,100 MW from new wind energy projects by late 2023. The cooperative also has plans to modify a coal and natural gas-based
power plant so that it’s fuelled solely by natural gas. Although the US currently relies on coal much more than most European countries, the closure of Coal Creek Station facility mirrors the big move to renewables that we have seen in the UK in the last decade. These projects are all positive moves in our grand ambition to create a
renewable world. Lockdown has provided us with a vision that can come to fruition in the drive to create a sustainable economy.

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