Voltalia starts construction of the world’s largest solar complex
Renewable energy giant Voltalia has announced the beginning of the construction of Râ Solar, its first solar power plant in Africa.
Râ Solar, a 32 MW solar power plant located in the Ben Ban complex, in the Aswan region (Upper Egypt) and the project will benefit from a 25-year power sales contract with the state-owned Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (“EETC”), which will come into effect starting from the commissioning of the plant, scheduled for H2 2019. The contract was signed upon an official visit of president Abdel-Fatah al-Sissi in Paris in October 2017.
With a 1.8 GW capacity, the Ben Ban solar PV complex is the world’s largest solar cluster. It will contribute to achieve the 2 GW target of solar installed capacity set by Egypt within the scope of the Paris Agreement in 2015. In addition, the overall Ben Ban cluster is expected to avoid 2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year while improving access to an affordable and clean energy in Egypt.
Râ Solar is the first power plant to be developed, constructed and managed by Voltalia on the African continent. It will be equipped with 93,150 Suntech photovoltaic panels of a 345 W unit capacity mounted on a single axis with trackers and, at peak, around 150 people will be working on site.
Voltalia is currently developing many projects in Africa. In Egypt, the Group has announced its ambition to develop a 800 MW portfolio in the next 5 to 8 years, for its own account and for third-party clients.
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.