Softbank to develop world’s largest solar farm in Saudi Arabia
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by Saudi Arabia and SoftBank Group Corp for the building of a 200MW solar farm.
The solar power project is anticipated to cost US$200bn and will be located in the Saudi Arabia desert.
The project was announced on 27 March during a ceremony in New York, attended by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Bloomberg reported.
The park will be 100 times larger than the world’s current largest solar project, with both Greece and Australia working towards 2GW photovoltaic (PV) projects.
“It’s a huge step in human history,” Bloomberg quotes Prince Mohammed stating.
“It’s bold, risky and we hope we succeed doing that.”
The solar park is anticipated to create 100,000 jobs and save $40bn through power costs.
The construction is set more maximum capacity to be reached by 2030.
“The kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land and great engineers, great labor, but most importantly, the best and greatest vision,” commented Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank.
“SoftBank seeks investment and Saudi needs energy, so it may make sense to sort the financing out in a large block and then separately hammer out the phases and the technical details,” remarked BNEF’s Head of Solar Analysis, Jenny Chase.
“It is worth noting that many of these memorandums of understanding do not result in anything happening.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.