May 17, 2020

Ghost Town Becomes Sustainable Innovation Playground

clean energy
New Mexico
2 min
New Mexico plans $200 million smart city
Written by Jonah Heller Rural New Mexico is home to a number of empty old ghost towns. Once growing communities, today they're nothing more than a...


Written by Jonah Heller

Rural New Mexico is home to a number of empty old ghost towns. Once growing communities, today they're nothing more than a monument to bygone times of the Wild West. With a typical population consisting of spiders, lizards, and the occasional deer, these abandoned cities are hardly the picture of modern innovation.

But one Washington based technology firm is looking to change all that, by constructing a brand new $200m “ghost town”. Once complete, the town will cover 20 square miles and have all the infrastructure, buildings, roads, water, and energy to support a population of 35,000 people.

While nobody will actually live in the town, The Center for Innovation, Testing, and Evaluation (official project name), will be a fully functional, life-sized, simulated 'smart city' test environment.

Private organizations, government agencies, universities, and the like will utilize the center as a testing ground for emerging technologies like smart power grids, next generation wireless networks, and intelligent traffic systems.

Bob Brumley, CEO of Pegasus-Global Holdings has said, “The idea for 'The Center' was born out of our own company's challenges in trying to test new and emerging technologies beyond the confines of a sterile lab environment.”

Some likely tests could include the effectiveness of rooftop solar panels when a thermostat is set to 68°F versus 78°F, or how well the same solar panels perform on a shady lot in comparison to a sunny one.

While the center will undoubtedly be the most talked about “ghost town” in New Mexico, it's surprisingly not the only project of its kind. A firm called Living PlanIT will attempt to take the 'smart city' concept countless steps further. Designed for total control of all systems from one central computer, PlanIT Valley is a $19b development slated for construction in southern Portugal, which will accommodate both residents and scientists alike.

Share article

Jul 30, 2021

Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector

3 min
The UK’s nascent marine energy sector starts exporting electricity to the grid as the most powerful tidal turbine in the world begins to generate power

Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre

At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable. 

How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?

Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.” 

“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement. 

The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.

“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government. 

“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.

“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”

However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future. 

We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.” 

The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours

This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly

Share article