In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):
- Will the Bahamas escalate solar power, post-Hurricane Dorian devastation?
- Britain’s Prince Harry launches green initiative with travel companies.
- Scotland breaks ground on country’s first subsidy-free onshore wind farm.
- How Tokyo is using sustainable energy for the 2020 Olympics.
EGEB: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.
The Bahamas Power and Light Company (BPL) already had big problems before Category 5 Hurricane Dorian showed up. On August 13, BPL issued a press release that apologized for “prolonged load shedding and lingering problems with power generation.” The Bahamas has suffered nearly daily blackouts.
“BPL has been persistently load shedding [distributing electrical power across multiple power sources when demand is greater than supply] since June due to a 40-megawatt generation shortfall, the result of two downed generators,” according to EyeWitness News.
Or, as Malcolm Strachan at the Tribune put it in an op-ed yesterday:
BPL just happens to be the bane of the citizenry’s frustration, and for the majority of us, nothing else takes priority over the government fixing this vexing issue.
And Strachan meant before Hurricane Dorian.
BPL’s website has no information listed under “current outage information.” But EyeWitness News reports that New Providence Island — where Nassau is and 70% of the country’s population lives — had a total blackout after the storm’s sustained devastation, but that BPL had restored 80% of power there by 11 p.m. last night.
BPL’s website promotes their Small Scale Renewable Generation (SSRG) Program for residential customers in New Providence and the Family Islands, but their FAQs state that “typically standard grid tied systems do not provide power in the event grid supply is lost.”
Solar power systems are going to take a serious beating from a powerful hurricane like everything else, but solar comparison-shopping marketplace Energy Sage points out:
A 645 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar array on San Juan’s VA Hospital [in Puerto Rico] installed in 2015 continued to operate 100% post-storm, even though it was exposed to 180 mph hurricane winds. What kept this system intact while other local arrays weren’t so lucky? As was the case with Hurricane Sandy, the racking and anchoring systems used to keep the solar panels in place were the ultimate factor in determining wind resiliency.
Further, solar with a battery backup system could keep power going.
The Bahamian government’s target is to generate 30% of the country’s needs from renewable sources by 2030. The Tribune reported in February that the country had broken ground on a $5 million solar power plant, which would supply 850 homes. It’s a start.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said, “Although alternative and renewable energy technologies are becoming cost-competitive and better understood globally and in the Bahamas, we still have a very long way to go as a country.” He’s right — and Dorian’s aftermath is going to make it harder.
Royal sustainable travel launch
The UK’s Prince Harry today launched Travelyst, “a new global partnership aiming to encourage sustainable travel practices across the industry,” according to Skift. TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner, and Visa are all founding partners.
The coalition will have a three-pronged approach, addressing industry practices, consumer choices, as well as community-facing initiatives on topics including protecting wildlife, tackling climate change and environmental damage, and alleviating overtourism.
A TripAdvisor spokesperson said a focus of the initiative will be to make sustainable travel options easier for consumers to identify and book — as well as more rewarding for travel companies to offer. 71% of travelers told Booking.com that they believe companies should offer more sustainable travel choices.
Harry and his wife Meghan Markle recently came under fire for environmental hypocrisy for the use of four private jets in 11 days. The carbon footprint of a private jet is higher than a commercial flight because there are fewer people on the plane.
Scotland’s first subsidy-free onshore wind farm
The wind farm will consist of 10 turbines and power nearly 45,000 homes. It is expected to launch in September 2020.
Scottish energy, connectivity, and the islands minister Paul Wheelhouse said:
This is a landmark moment for onshore wind in Scotland, in fulfilling a key policy objective we set within Scotland’s Energy Strategy and I very much hope this will be followed by many more similar developments as we seek to address the climate emergency.
Tokyo goes green for the 2020 Olympics
Tokyo 2020 is aiming to be the first Games powered exclusively by renewable sources. So what are they up to in Japan? Yesterday, Swimming news SwimSwam said, on the green energy front:
- Toyota will provide a wide range of zero-emission vehicles for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, in line with Japan’s carbon reduction goals.
- Electricity used during the Olympic Games will be supplied by renewable sources, such as solar, biomass and hydropower.
And the Conversation pointed out in May:
- Japan’s Olympic organising committee plans to offset all unavoidable CO2 emissions.
- The Olympic Village is being designed as a new model for sustainable inner-city housing, with seawater heat pumps, food waste-powered biogas, and nationally sourced timber.
And these are just a few of the initiatives. Next year’s Olympics could end up being a green model for all future Olympics — and indeed, countries — to follow. Japan wants to be a climate leader, and this is a great initiative.
Photo credit: Sopitas.com
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