SunPower to construct new solar plant in Oregon
SunPower Corp. has announced that construction has begun on a 56-megawatt (AC) power plant in Oregon: the Gala Solar Power Plant in Crook County. It is expected to be the state’s largest operating solar power plant, and its construction – due to be completed by the end of this year – will create around 300 jobs.
SunPower’s third generation SunPower Oasis platform for solar power plants will be installed on this site to maximise the project’s long-term energy production. The platform is a complete power plant solution that installs quickly and optimises site utilisation to lower the cost of energy for customers. The product includes 50 percent lower parts than conventional solar plant systems, and an integrated solar tracker design which streamlines construction and reduces operational and maintenance costs.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown said: “I’ve often said that in Oregon, we don’t believe economic development and environmental stewardship are mutually exclusive ideas. The approximately 300 jobs expected to be created by the Gala Solar Power Plant are proof we can grow our rural communities and support a vibrant and innovative renewable energy industry.”
“Solar power project deliver a range of regional benefits, including job creation and affordable emission-free power,” added Ann Beier, Assistant Planning Director at Crook County Community Development. “We are proud that, working in partnership with SunPower on the Gala Solar Power Plant, Crook County is helping lead the way in Oregon in supporting increased solar development.”
Ty Daul, SunPower Vice President, Americas Power Plants, stated: “While solar is cost-competitive today, SunPower is continuing to drive the cost of energy down through innovation and integrated complete solutions such as our Oasis platform. We’re pleased to contribute to economic development in Oregon with the construction of this milestone project.”
Read the March 2017 edition of Energy Digital magazine
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.