Installing solar panels over California’s network of water canals could save the state an estimated 63 billion gallons of water and produce 13 gigawatts of renewable power every year, according to a feasibility study published in Nature Sustainability.
California moves more water than any other system in the world, with 75% of the state’s available water in its northern third and the southern two-thirds accounting for 80% of the state’s demand.
Covering the canals with solar panels would reduce evaporation by shading the canals from the sun (along with the co-benefit of reducing canal-choking plant growth) and the cooling effects of the water could boost solar panel efficiency.
The black swan year of 2020 has brought many challenges for the shipping industry, including the ongoing crew change crisis, but it has also shown how the sector can be resilient in the face of adversity and pressure.
A $20bn gigawatt solar farm, the world’s largest and if built will be visible from space, was granted major project status from the Morrison government in July with energy generated from the project to ultimately power Singapore.
Rapidly decarbonizing the US economy to avert the worst effects of climate change is possible, but it will take a war-time level effort, and tools like the forward-looking scenarios Riskthinking.AI has developed that help companies better understand and swiftly respond to climate risk
The report encourages energy firms to “mothball” coal plants, as more than half of them could be undercut by new large-scale solar projects. According to IRENA, if companies replaced their most expensive coal plants with new solar or onshore wind projects, “they could save up to $23bn (£18bn) every year and wipe out 5% of last year’s total global carbon emissions” Stress testing portfolios using science-backed forward-looking scenarios like the ones created by Riskthinking.AI would ensure such developments don’t come as a surprise.
Energy transition encompasses a range of plural and contested pathways, including those shaping a potential full-scale hydrogen economy. Forward-looking scenarios can shed light on these pathways and enable better decision-making.