Cost reduction and reliability are the keys for more widespread implementation, while local production is a potential solution for easing the strain.
Wind and solar power have long been the most popular suggested methods to reduce fossil fuel emissions. While in many places their efficacy was still being debated, some entrepreneurs in Wales took it upon themselves to make community-wide renewable energy a reality.
The Rassau industrial estate in South Wales will soon be home to a first-of-its-kind energy center. Thanks to the innovation of renewable energy company Infinite, a combination of wind turbines, solar cells, and a novel battery system will produce cleaner, cheaper, local energy.
Phase one of the project, the installation of a one megawatt-hour rooftop solar system, is already complete. Electricity generated by these solar panels alone is expected to power between 400 and 900 homes each year. The next step is the installation of a massive wind turbine that will power the site itself. Specific advancements in battery technology will make distributing power simpler and more efficient than ever before.
The director of Infinite notes that, because generated power will be allocated locally, the area surrounding the power center will directly benefit from its existence. Residents will enjoy fewer CO2 emissions and discounted renewable energy. The decentralization of this energy distribution system also means communities don’t need to import power over long distances; they can produce it in their own backyard.
Infinite, and the power center project, enjoy support from both private investors and government entities. The Welsh government views development of sites such as the one at Rassau as essential for a sustainable future. Cost reduction and reliability are the keys for more widespread implementation, while local production is a potential solution for easing the strain on overburdened energy distribution networks.
The project at Rassau is a litmus test for the feasibility of other such renewable energy platforms. Its successes will be useful case studies for innovations to come; its failures will be necessary learning experiences.