Monthly Archives: January 2018

Mandatory disclosure programs (and why they work)

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As cities expand and multiply, their citizens and infrastructure are greatly affected by the environmental risks and associated costs of climate change. For this reason, many cities and some states are requiring that the energy performance and/or carbon emissions of buildings be disclosed. These mandatory disclosure programs have been so successful in reducing carbon emissions that a growing number of states, counties and cities are now adopting them.

How mandatory disclosure programs operate

Typically, these programs require annual disclosure for commercial and sometimes multi-residential buildings over a certain size. In New York City, for example, the policy applies to buildings over 50,000 square feet. These buildings constitute only 2 percent of New York City’s buildings, but account for 50 percent of the total floor area of commercial buildings. The relatively small number of buildings makes the program manageable, while the large floor area that they represent can make a significant impact. Many U.S. cities have set ambitious goals. Portland, Ore. set a goal of cutting carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Atlanta projects that its ordinance will drive a 20-percent reduction in energy consumption by 2030.… Read More

Floating energy: a new era of renewables

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As land becomes increasingly expensive and planning consent for large-scale renewable energy projects is more difficult to acquire, floating renewables projects, especially solar-powered ones, are on the rise worldwide. The global market for ‘floatovoltaics’ – floating solar panel installations – is expected to reach $2.7 billion by 2025.

Although floatovoltaics are not new, floating solar panel projects are now being installed all over the world on a massive scale. In 2016, a floating energy farm was installed on the Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir in Surrey, England. With more than 23,000 solar panels and the size of eight soccer fields, it is the largest floating solar installation in Europe. Coming in at twice that size is the floating solar project currently being installed on the Yamakura Dam reservoir in Japan. Once completed, the project’s more than 50,000 floating solar panels will generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes.

In 2017, however, the rule book was rewritten when China switched on what is now the world’s largest floating renewable energy plant in the nation’s Anhui province. With a $45 million price tag, the giant installation of 120,000 solar panels covers an area equivalent to over 160 football fields and generates enough energy to power 15,000 homes.

Why floatovoltaics are rising to the top

One of the prime reasons for floatovoltaics’ worldwide popularity is their unique design, which addresses multiple efficiency and planning issues. These floating apparatuses are convenient to install in areas with limited land availability and, due to their small size, can be arrayed in unusual shapes. Additional benefits include reduced water evaporation and algae growth and increased solar cell performance.… Read More