The Largest Green Energy Facilities from Around the World
Since the development of renewable energy facilities decades ago, we have witnessed how our civilization’s energy economy turned from pure oil, gas and coal to its diverse form today. Even now, the infrastructure for green energy sources is still growing, and we even expect it to become an integral part of our energy infrastructure in the future as non-renewable energy sources gets scarce.
As appreciation to the growing influence of renewable energy on our world economy, I would like to share to you in this article a 2012 update of some of the largest green energy facilities from around the globe.
Largest Solar PV Energy Facility
The largest operational solar photovoltaic energy facility in the world that is currently operational (as of this article’s post date) is the Agua Caliente Solar Project. It is located at Yuma County, Arizona, and provides more than 200 megawatts of power around the area. It is actually still under construction and expanding, and when it is completed in 2014 it would provide almost double its current capacity, at 397 megawatts. China’s Golmund Solar Park is also at 200 megawatts, but it was already completed in October 2011 and will no longer expand. India’s Charanka Solar Park holds 214 megawatts, but the value has since been overcome by Agua Caliente’s continued construction today.
The title of largest would not be held by the Agua Caliente for long however, because of three bigger solar PV projects that is under development: California’s Topaz Solar Farms and Desert Sunlight Solar Farm (both at 550 megawatts), and the Gujarat Solar Park (a group of smaller power stations that would produce a total of 690 megawatts).
Largest Solar Thermal Energy Facility
Solar Energy Generating Systems holds the title of the largest concentrated solar thermal energy facility in the world. It is located at California’s Mojave Desert, providing around 354 megawatts of energy to more than 200,000 homes each day. The facility is composed of 9 separate units, each installed with numerous parabolic trough-type heliostats to collect heat from the sun. In total, they use almost 1 million heliostats for the facility, covering around 1,600 acres of land.
Largest On-Shore Wind Farm
For the largest on-shore (inland) wind farm category, the clear winner is none other than the Alta Wind Energy Center. It is located in Kern County, California, and was constructed near what is currently known as the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm. Overall, the entire wind farm generates around 1,020 megawatts of electricity, divided between 100 1.5-megawatt and 290 3-megawatt wind turbines.
Largest Off-Shore Wind Farm
The winner for the largest off-shore wind farm category is the Walney Wind Farm. As its name suggests, the location of this energy facility is at 14 km west of Walney Island, an island that is situated off the coast of Cumbria in the Irish Sea of the United Kingdom. It currently produces around 367 megawatts, supplied by the installation of 102 wind turbines.
Like the largest solar PV facility though, the title of the largest off-shore wind farm may not be held by the Walney Wind Farm for long due to new gargantuan projects under development. The most notable of which is the wind farm that is to be constructed at Dogger Bank, which is set to provide 9,000 megawatts of power in the future.
Largest Geothermal Energy Facility
As of October 2011, the title of the largest geothermal energy facility goes to Hellisheidi Power Station in Iceland. This energy facility is located at Hengill, southwest Iceland. It formerly had an energy capacity of 213 megawatts, 20 megawatts lower than the Philippines’ Malitbog Geothermal Power Station, which was then the largest geothermal facility at 233 megawatts. It has since then grew to around 300 megawatts, and would continue to be developed until it reaches the target energy capacity of 400 megawatts.
Largest Hydroelectric Energy Facility
The Three Gorges Dam of China is undoubtedly the largest hydroelectric facility as of late. It was opened since 2008, but was only greenlit for normal operations just very recently in July 2012. It held a development period of almost 18 years, since its construction started in 1994. Its maximum energy capacity is set at around 22,500 megawatts, with each of the 32 main turbines and 2 smaller generators providing 700 megawatts and 50 megawatts of power respectively. It is clearly the dominating energy facility over all the other renewable energy contenders (though it’s not really that surprising from a technological point of view).
That’s about my round up for some of the largest renewable energy facilities from around the world. As you may have noticed the list is incomplete, but that is mainly due to the exclusion of other less mainstream and still under-development energy technologies and sources.
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