Las Vegas bets on solar energy
Three solar trees with a total of 18 photovoltaic cells are now being used to exclusively power the legendary “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.
The 25 feet tall neon sign with an 89-bulb border, which was designed by Betty Willis, has greeted millions of Las Vegas visitors at the South end of Las Vegas Boulevard since 1959. The solar trees are placed so as not to interfere with the iconic view that has served as The Strip’s welcome mat for more than 50 years.
“We’re planting solar trees at one of the most photographed spots on earth,” said Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak. “It’s difficult to make a bigger statement about our commitment to sustainability than at the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign.”
The effort to install three solar trees with a total of 18 photovoltaic cells to exclusively power the legendary sign was led by Green Chips, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing environmental sustainability initiatives in Southern Nevada, and Clean Energy Project (CEP), a Las Vegas-based nonprofit organization that promotes the benefits of a clean energy economy.
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“Solar powering the ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ helps demonstrate the power of harnessing Nevada’s clean energy resources for our existing economy,” said Lydia Ball, executive director of the Clean Energy Project. “This has been a community-supported project from the beginning, and we are thrilled to have been a part of it.”
More than a month ago ground was broken on the solar tree installation allowing The Strip’s most iconic landmark’s legendary neon and incandescent lights to run solely on harnessed solar energy. The project is fully funded with donations from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), NV Energy and a grant from the Las Vegas Centennial History Grant Program. The installation was performed by Bombard Renewable Energy, which also provided in-kind services and donated materials to the project.
“The Las Vegas Valley is one of the sunniest spots on the planet,” said Clark County Commissioner and Green Chips Board Member Chris Giunchigliani. “We are delighted to harness that sunshine and use it to power such an iconic symbol of our community.”
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.