The Largest Float­ing So­lar Power Plant in the World

Trillions - - In This Issue -

The largest off­shore float­ing power plant in the world is cur­rently be­ing built, and China is the coun­try mak­ing it hap­pen.

China is se­ri­ous about tak­ing the global lead­er­ship po­si­tion in so­lar en­ergy. As proof of this, China Three Gorges New En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion, based in Bei­jing, just ploughed one bil­lion yuan (equal to US$151 mil­lion) into what is go­ing to be the largest float­ing so­lar power in­stal­la­tion in the world. It is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion in An­hui, a prov­ince in eastern China.

The new power plant project is be­ing built in a lo­ca­tion that is highly sym­bolic to China’s own full-speed-ahead move to re­new­able en­ergy op­tions wher­ever pos­si­ble. It is be­ing set up on the sur­face of a lake that formed af­ter one of China’s coal mines col­lapsed.

The project is be­ing car­ried out by in­sert­ing so­lar pan­els on floats put in a fixed lo­ca­tion on the lake’s sur­face. When it is fin­ished, the so­lar power plant will pro­duce 150 MW of power. That is sim­i­lar to what would in the past have re­quired 53,000 tons of coal, with all the pol­lu­tion, toxic waste and haz­ards to the min­ers and plant work­ers that go with it. Us­ing so­lar power in­stead of coal will also elim­i­nate 199,500 tons of car­bon diox­ide emis­sions.

Putting so­lar pan­els over wa­ter helps mit­i­gate global warm­ing by pre­serv­ing land for car­bon ab­sorb­ing veg­e­ta­tion and re­duc­ing the amount of heat ab­sorbed by the un­der­ly­ing wa­ter.

The plant, which be­gan con­struc­tion in July 2017 and will be com­plete in May 2018, is a high pri­or­ity for the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. China, which has ac­tively been tak­ing a lead po­si­tion in cham­pi­oning re­duced emis­sions and re­new­able en­ergy to com­bat global warm­ing, has taken an even stronger po­si­tion since the United States pulled out of the Paris Agree­ment and is com­mit­ted to in­creas­ing its emis­sions.

The sec­ond largest float­ing so­lar power plant in the world was also built by China – and is also in An­hui. It is the 40 MW in­stal­la­tion put in place some time ago by Chi­nese re­new­ables provider Sun­grow. China is also mov­ing for­ward with another (70 MW) project in the same prov­ince, this time via another Chi­nese so­lar en­ter­prise, CECEC.

As China takes the lead in look­ing up­ward for en­ergy sources – and re­new­able ones at that – the United States, un­der Trump, con­tin­ues to stick its head deeper in the ground as it gives in to the need­less and dan­ger­ous de­mands of the U.S. fos­sil fuel in­dus­try.

Last year, in ad­di­tion to with­draw­ing from the Paris Agree­ment (now the only coun­try in the world to do so), it rolled back emis­sions reg­u­la­tions for fos­sil fuel plants, elim­i­nated mon­i­tor­ing re­quire­ments to track dan­ger­ous meth­ane leaks, opened up fed­eral lands for oil and gas ex­plo­ration, made fur­ther give­aways to the ob­so­lete coal power in­dus­try, chopped the size of na­tional mon­u­ments and – its lat­est move – ap­proved de­struc­tive oil & gas de­vel­op­ment in the frag­ile Arc­tic Na­tional Wildlife Refuge.

Trump is ex­pected to also roll-back even ve­hi­cle emis­sions stan­dards in his mad orgy of pol­lu­tion and add fur­ther im­port du­ties on so­lar pan­els made in China.

All these in­sane moves were made by the Trump regime un­der the guise of "pro­tect­ing Amer­ica’s en­ergy free­dom". Trag­i­cally, there is no need for what the Trump gang has done, since more than enough en­ergy was pro­duced dur­ing re­new­able growth ac­tions un­der the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to ease the United States out of any de­pen­dence on for­eign oil.

Trump and his gang can't seem to grasp the re­al­ity that so­lar and wind are vastly less ex­pen­sive and harm­ful in the short-term and long-term than car­bon or nu­clear en­ergy.

So­lar and wind power would en­able Amer­ica to truly gain greater free­dom from a de­cay­ing, ex­pen­sive and ob­so­lete en­ergy sys­tem that throt­tles the econ­omy.

It is hard for many Amer­i­cans to ac­cept this, but the planet should be thank­ful that China, the largest pol­luter in the world, is do­ing some­thing big about chang­ing the course of its con­tri­bu­tions to global warm­ing – es­pe­cially since the United States, the sec­ond largest such pol­luter, has cho­sen to add to global green­house gases on a large scale.

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