Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – March Week 4

Missed the news last week? Not to worry – here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days.

Photo Credit: Hornsdale Wind Farm

British billionaire to tackle Tesla for title of world’s biggest battery

“In November last year, Tesla completed construction of the world’s biggest battery in South Australia. But now, just a few months later, another contender is looking to swoop in and steal the crown from Elon Musk and co. Simec Zen Energy and British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta are planning to build an even larger storage battery in the same Australian state. The new battery system is set to be built in Port Augusta, storing energy harvested by a solar farm currently under development at the Whyalla Steelworks. When it’s completed, the new system is set to boast an installed capacity of 140 MWh and be capable of on output of up to 120 MW, compared to Tesla’s 129 MWh/100 MW system at Jamestown. Renewable energy has been a focus for the state of South Australia in recent years. Severe weather caused rolling blackouts in late 2016 and early 2017, leading the state government to “take charge of the state’s energy future,” eventually awarding the contract of the large battery storage system to Tesla…” via New Atlas.

Photo Credit: Lucy Young/PR

New fountains and bottle-refill points to tackle London’s plastic waste

“A new network of drinking fountains and bottle-refill points is set to be rolled out across London this year as part of a plan to reduce the amount of waste created by single-use plastic, the Guardian has learned. Twenty new drinking fountains will be installed across London in a pilot scheme starting this summer, while a bottle-refill initiative, in which businesses make tap water available to the public, will be set up across five areas of the capital over February and March. If successful, it will be rolled out to the rest of the city in the summer. Plastic cups, bottles and cutlery will also no longer be available at City Hall under the plans. The plans are part of a proposed three-year, £750,000 initiative from the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to tackle plastic waste in the capital, and will be put before the London Assembly’s budget committee on Thursday…” via The Guardian.

Subsidy-free offshore wind farm to be built in the Netherlands

“The project is one of the first offshore wind farms to ever win a contract without financial support from a government, following a similar auction in Germany last year. The 700-750 megawatt wind farm, called Hollandse Kust Zuid, will be located 14 miles off the Dutch coast, and cover an area of 137 square miles. Vattenfall estimates it could power up to 1.5 million households upon completion within the next five years. Dutch Economic Affairs and Climate Minister Eric Wiebes said: “Thanks to drastically lower costs, offshore wind farms are now being constructed without subsidy. “This allows us to keep the energy transition affordable. Innovation and competition are making sustainable energy cheaper and cheaper, and much faster than expected too.” Technological developments and government support have helped offshore wind dramatically reduce its cost in recent years. Different European countries, notably Germany and the UK, have been competing to build new projects at as low a price as possible…” via Climate Action

Winning concepts revealed for “iconic gateway” on London’s Old Street

“A “digital garden” and “reflective lens” are among the four winning concepts in a competition seeking ideas for Old Street roundabout in London. Dar Group, EPR Architects, Gpad London and Nicholas Hare Architects all came top in the contest, which called for an “iconic gateway” at the east London junction dubbed Silicon Roundabout, due to the high volume of tech companies in the area. Gpad London has proposed creating a digital garden that will include a “forest of lights that generate electricity”, while Nicholas Hare Architects wants to create a park that will “harnesses the social, environmental and economic aspirations of the area.” EPR Architects and Dar Group look to have taken inspiration from the roundabout’s form, with visualisations of both proposals showing a circular digital display board raised above a public space…” via Dezeen

Study: wind and solar can power most of the United States

“In order to combat climate change, we need to rapidly move from fossil fuel energy to clean, renewable energy. The two energy sources I am most interested in are wind and solar power; however, there are other sources that have great potential. Some people doubt how much wind and solar can supply to a country’s electricity grid. This is a particularly challenging question to answer in part because both solar power and wind power fluctuate in both space and time. We all know solar panels work well during the day, when the sun shines – they don’t work so well at night. And wind turbines only send electrons when the wind is blowing. Fortunately, these two sources of energy fluctuate in ways that complement each other. For instance, solar power generation is highest in the summer and lowest in the winter. Wind power is greatest in the spring and fall. Wind turbines work at night when solar panels are dormant. So, can these complementing variations help balance out the power that the two technologies can provide..?” via The Guardian

Moss-covered CityTree bench designed to combat urban pollution

“A mossy “living wall” with the pollution-absorbing power equivalent to hundreds of trees has been installed in London’s Piccadilly Circus in a bid to combat the city’s unsafe air quality levels. Designed by German startup Green City Solutions, the CityTree is billed by the company as the world’s first intelligent biological air filter. It was created in response to research conducted by the startup, which revealed that approximately 9,000 Londoners and 50,000 Britons die prematurely each year from respiratory, cardiovascular and other illnesses associated with pollutants. Each bench is equipped with a so-called “living wall”, which is filled with a variety of moss types that naturally absorb pollution. The whole design takes up a fraction of the space that would be needed to yield the same air-purifying results using 275 real trees…” via Dezeen


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