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Old Coal and Nuclear Sites are Getting Solar Makeover

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

The whole world is running out of non-renewable energy sources. Some of the non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels and natural gas are likely to run out in next 50 years. Thankfully, we have come to this realisation and we are slowly making our move towards renewable sources of energy. 

The most popular renewable source of energy that the world is slowly gravitating towards is solar energy. As more people and companies resort to solar solutions for their energy requirements, the solar energy market has seen a rise in recent years. Most leading countries are transforming their abandoned mines, pits, and nuclear plants into solar farms and wind farms.

WattMonk appreciates such green efforts that address multiple modern world problems in a sustainable approach. We also hope to contribute to such projects with our solar tech and design services

Transformation of Chernobyl - From an Energy Disaster to a Green Energy Example
Transformation of Chernobyl - From an Energy Disaster to a Green Energy Example

Chernobyl, Ukraine

Chernobyl, which was once the prime example of evils of nuclear fallout, is now the poster boy of clean renewable energy production. Chernobyl got a complete makeover with solar plants in 2018, three decades after it was subjected to a nuclear disaster. The plant is built in the contaminated area which remains largely uninhabited and where visitors have to be accompanied with a guide carrying radiation meters. The farm is comprised of 3,800 panels which produce enough energy to power 2,000 apartment buildings.

The plant is a joint project by Ukrainian company Rodina and Germany’s Enerparc AG and was established for an estimated cost of 1 million Euros. This move came at a time when there was a sharply increasing investment in renewables in Ukraine.

Appalachia, U.S

Appalachia, the region in the U.S which was hurt by the decline in coal mining, is set to become one of the largest solar projects in the states. American Electric Power, a major investor-owned electric utility in America, is the company behind the makeover of Ohio mines into a solar farm.

The company submitted a plan to work with two developers to build 400 megawatts of solar

energy in Ohio. According to AEP, the plan, once implemented, will save customers $218 million over 20 years, as solar power is less expensive than conventional energy sources.

This plan is also expected to alleviate the region of economic depression through which the state is going through right now. Along with savings for customers and appeasement of financial depression, the plan is also expected to create jobs.

Queensland, Australia

Australia saw its largest solar development--a project worth 1.5GW of solar PV and 500 MWh of energy storage-- to enter the construction phase. There are not many details about the project developer--SunShine Energy, however, by the looks of its website, this is seemingly its first and only project. The company was registered in 2017 in Mitchell, ACT, with its headquarters in Melbourne.

The plant is expected to be expanded across 2,055 hectares east of Harlin and be developed in three stages of 500 MW each. Apart from the 1.5 GW solar farm, the plan also comprises two substations and a 500 MW energy storage facility. The overall estimated cost of the plant is expected to be around $3.5 billion.

Legacy Mine Sites, North America--BHP

The world’s largest mining company, BHP, is looking forward to turning the legacy mine sites in North America into solar power plants and storage facility. According to BHP, the company is teaming up with the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to work with local universities. This move will help them find sustainable ways to clean up legacy mining impacts as well as develop biomass which can be used as feed-stock for biofuels.

According to BHP’s website, “The North American Closed Sites team has been working hard to find alternative land use for our legacy mine sites that can be both an environmental benefit and bring jobs and industry back to our local mining communities.”

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