Global energy consumption is on the rise and the need for new sources of energy is increasing. In 2010, 16% of final global energy consumption came from renewables. Renewable energy is being used everywhere; even in places you would least expect!
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Ricoh, a global company offering various services and products, recently showed their commitment to sustainability. The company not only provides sustainable solutions through its Managed Documents Services; it is also using innovate technology in their advertising. The company launched Europe's first billboard powered 100% by renewable energy. The billboard has 96 solar panels and five wind turbine and is located in London's M4 motorway. The company launched its first renewable energy powered billboard in New York's Time Square which debuted in June 2010. Ricoh recently announced plans to install a third renewable energy powered billboard in Sydney, Australia.
There are a number of brewing companies that now use wind power and green energy in their production plants. New Belgium Brewing, however, jumps out amongst all others. New Belgium was the first brewery to use electricity generated 100% by wind power in 1999. The company’s employee-owners voted to purchase its electricity from the City of Fort Collins’ Wind Program even though it cost 2.5 cent more per kWh than fossil-fueled electricity. The extra cost was funded by the owner’s bonus pool. The company has since continued to pursue other renewable energy options by generating power onsite. New Belgium uses the methane gas byproduct of its Process Water Treatment Plant to power a combined heat and power engine. This engine is capable of producing up to 15% of the brewery’s electricity needs. Furthermore, the solar panels installed at the brewery in January 2010 can contribute over 3% of total electricity.
Renewable energy is used even in remote locations. Tocco, an ancient town in Italy, is completely powered by renewable energy. The town has a population of 2,700 people and receives all of its power from four wind turbines. It even produces 30% more energy than what the town requires. The wind turbines project has been so successful that it has generated $200,000 in savings and allowed the town to remove local taxes and garbage pick-up fees. The whole community of Tocco is committed to sustainability projects; even local home owners are installing solar panels on their rooftops to generate electricity.
Boeing opened a new assembly plant in North Charleston, South Carolina in June 2011. The plant is Boeing’s first ever facility to operate as a 100% renewable energy site and is the 6th largest in the United States. The building’s 10-acre roof has 18,000 solar panels installed to produce 2.6 megawatts of power; that is equivalent to the energy needed to power 250 homes. It is just one more step in Boeing’s effort to reduce its environmental footprint.
Star Trek Theme Park
King Abdullah of Jordan has approved plans for a $1.5 billion Star Trek theme park. Construction is set to begin in 2012 and is projected to be completed in 2014. Star Trek fans are buzzing with anticipation, but there is more than just entertainment to be excited about. Environmentalists are also pleased with the fact that the project is expected to set the standard for green energy by using state-of-the-art renewable technologies throughout the facilities. An education centre will also be built to teach visitors about the benefits of renewable energy and environmentally friendly practices.
Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc. is taking the next step and will soon be powered by a renewable energy source through its 15 year deal with PowerSource Energy Services Inc. PowerSource will provide electricity generated from a 2-megawatt biomass-fired power plant to Pepsi’s factory in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. Pepsi also has plans to develop partnerships with other renewable energy companies to supply power to its 11 other manufacturing plants in the Philippines.
Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania became the first NASCAR race track to be powered by solar energy and the first major U.S. sports venue to go green. It revealed a 3 megawatt ground-mounted solar energy system in July 2011. The system consists of 40,000 solar modules that span 25 acres adjacent to the track. The electricity generated will go beyond the needs of the track and will have enough to power an additional 1,000 homes. The solar panel system is globally the largest to ever be installed in any sports facility.
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