Five Renewable Energy Projects You Should Keep an Eye On in 2023
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Global renewable energy (RE) journeys have been set in stone since the 19th century. Norway's Renewable Energy innovation, for instance, began in the 1800s, when the prominent engineers of that time decided to leverage their rivers' powerful currents to provide sustainable, clean electricity. And it worked. After hydropower had set the pace, wind, solar, and other renewables, such as biomass, followed suit. Now, the world is on the verge of an energy revolution that humankind has never witnessed before.
While every nation has distinct RE stories to tell, two things reconcile most of these countries' journeys, particularly the European countries: the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russo-Ukraine conflict.
Renewable Energy During the Covid-19 Pandemic
The global energy charts demonstrating RE growth reveal how many spikes the world experienced in 2020. Multiple reports also claim that wind and solar energies attained their greatest heights in the RE market, overtaking hydropower and earning impressive projections from experts.
Renewable Energy During the Russo-Ukraine Conflict
Most of the EU member countries get their oil and gas supplies from Russia. In 2019, the EU imported about 40% of its natural gas and about half of its coal from Russia.
With many of these countries obligated to cut ties with Russia, it became imperative that they look elsewhere for their energy supplies, a majority of whom decided to do away with fossil fuels and look inwards for their sustenance. This transition means a big deal to the growth of RE as European governments polished their energy policies to expand the attention given to RE. Germany's Renewable Energy, for example, took a transition leap after the invasion because of increased self-reliance on renewables.
These two key events have successfully birthed hundreds of remarkable RE projects worldwide, many of which have been completed, some ongoing, and the rest forthcoming. Below are some of the most noteworthy RE projects to watch out for.
Top Renewable Energy Projects to Watch Out For in 2023
We are starting off 2023 with completed RE projects in 2022 already running and satisfying the needs of consumers all over Europe and the rest of the world, it's only expected that energy consumers, as well as energy players, be on the lookout for forthcoming projects:
Solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity by converting light rays from the sun into electrical energy. However, the ever-shifting direction of sunlight usually impairs the output of solar panels.
To correct this, SolarisFloat, a Portuguese renewable energy company, plans to develop solar farms, called Protevs, across Europe that can track the sun’s movement.
In November 2022, Solaris installed its pilot Protevs project, Oostvoornse lake, in the Netherlands. The project comprised 139 modules of floating PV solar panels with a total installed peak capacity of 50.7 kW-p.
The sun-tracking feature in the solar panels makes them rotate in the direction where there is the most solar concentration, yielding a 40% increase in energy production compared to the normal floating panels.
To properly utilise this innovation, SolarisFloat aims to install seven islands of Protevs across Europe to generate 2 GW of electricity annually.
When solar PV panels are installed on the rooftop of greenhouses, they prevent plants from receiving sufficient sunlight for growth. In addition, when installed on farmlands, they take up space that should otherwise be allocated to more plants.
Earlier this year, the EU awarded €5.3 million to the REGACE Consortium to help combat this challenge. The project—which is being developed by the Israeli company, Trisolar—is aimed at devising innovative ways to help greenhouse farmers embrace renewable energy without putting their plants’ lives at risk.
As a by-benefit, the solution helps solar PV panels installed on greenhouses increase their efficiency. In a way, it creates a symbiotic relationship between plants and solar panels.
The panels help control the amount of sunlight that gets to the plants so that they absorb the ample amount of light. In return, the panels use excess sunlight to generate 10% more electricity than regular solar PV panels.
In May 2021, Repsol, a Spanish renewable energy company, began constructing its Delta II wind energy project in select provinces in Spain.
The project, which is expected to be completed and operational in 2023, comprises six wind farms: Santa Cruz I, II, & III, Amp, and San Isidro I & II.
When fully operational, Delta II will have a total capacity of 860 MW, supplying nearly 800,000 homes across Spain.
What’s more, the project is estimated to prevent the emission of over 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
OX2, a Swedish RE company, has begun the development of a 1.4 GW offshore wind farm about 30 kilometres northwest of Kashinen, off the coast of Finland.
The wind farm, whose full operation is to begin in about four years, will have 100 turbines supplying about 6 TWh of electricity.
Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, in partnership with Prosolia, another Spanish solar PV manufacturer, will begin the construction of a 1.2 GW solar plant in 2023.
The solar plant, which will be situated in Santiago de Cacem, some 200 kilometres south of Lisbon, is tipped to be the largest solar project in Europe and the fifth largest globally. It is expected to become fully operational by 2025. By then, it will have enough capacity to power around 430,000 households.
On the surface, the above projects demonstrate how much growth Europe is witnessing in its transition to green energy. However, from another angle, they signal how much renewable energy innovations promote intersectionality and vice versa.
The agrivoltaic project, for instance, shows the mutual benefits that renewable energy and agriculture offer each other. Also, floating solar panels, which are now being widely adopted, reduce the need for land in the construction of solar plants.
Finally, renewable energy and energy players are two sides of the same coin. The massive RE capacities to be initialised or completed in 2023 indicate the prospective need for more energy players such as prosumers, ESCos, DSOs, etc. This means energy players will have to seek smart solutions to help them keep up with the incoming weight of RE that is about to hit Europe.