AGRIVOLTAIC FARMING: Our Food & Energy Future

Agrivoltaic farming involves strategically installing solar panels so they share land used for agriculture. Advocates for this option believe it could make a meaningful difference in both food supplies and energy infrastructure.

Jane Marsh wrote a story in Renewable Energy Magazine on October 20, 2022 about Agrivoltaics.

An Oregon State University team investigated the effects of co-developing land for farming and solar energy — the results of their study were undoubtedly impressive. They found this approach could generate 20% of the electricity in the United States while only requiring an investment equaling less than 1% of the annual budget. Moreover, the results indicated the widespread use of photovoltaic farming could cut 71,000 cars worth of carbon dioxide emissions per year in the country. Additionally, this change would create more than 100,000 jobs in rural communities while only having a minimal impact on total crop yield production.

Jane Marsh | Renewable Energy Magazine
In a 2021 Press Release from Germany, we learn about agrivoltaics being tested for carbon-neutral orcharding:

The overarching goal of the project, which has been funded by the State Ministry of Climate Protection, Environment, Energy and Mobility of the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, is to increase climate resilience in orcharding and ensure the secure and sustainable production of apples while also generating solar power.
Eight different apple varieties are to be used to explore several research questions during this project, which is planned to run for five years. Economic benefits include lower and more predictable energy costs in the long term, fewer investment costs for crop protection as well as lower costs for operating materials and waste disposal.

Source

IN OTHER NEWS:

Cool tomatoes? Agrivoltaics could help California crop, if the economics pan out
Emerging research suggests growing tomato plants below and between solar panels could help the country’s billion-dollar-plus tomato industry, especially in places where it faces increasing stress from heat and drought. Drought and extreme heat in California’s Central Valley in recent years has meant shortages of tomatoes, particularly “processing tomatoes” used for sauce and ketchup. Shade provided by solar panels can help conserve water, create humidity, and lower temperatures that can become too much even for heat-loving tomatoes.

Solar farms ‘vital’ part of renewable energy mix, say Norfolk campaigners
Recently the then Prime Minister Liz Truss suggested agricultural land used for food should not be used for solar power. But environmentalists have told the BBC that solar farms are vital to reduce carbon emissions. “In France they are putting solar panels high above their car parks, such as supermarket car parks. We should think outside the box a bit more and not use our prime land.” A Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said: “Protecting our environment, backing British farmers and delivering long-term energy security with more renewables is at the heart of the government’s manifesto.

‘It’s got nasty’: the battle to build the US’s biggest solar power farm
The ongoing fight is a sobering reminder of how Biden’s ambitions for a mass transition to renewables, aimed at averting the worst ravages of the climate crisis, will in significant part be decided by the vagaries and veto points of thousands of local officials, county boards and Connie Ehrlich-style opposition across the US. Over the past year, solar projects in OhioKentucky and Nevada have all been delayed or sunk by irked local people. Ordinances restricting solar, wind and other renewable energy facilities have been passed in 31 states.

Heating Season Postponed as Warm Weather Sweeps Over Europe
Much of Germany basked in temperatures in the low to mid 20s Celsius Saturday, while the unusually warm temperatures sent sunbathers to the beach in France and Spain. The UK wasn’t far behind with a high of 22.9C (73F) recorded in London, while Slovenia and Croatia are set to post their warmest October on record.

U.S. regulators want more data on Texas Freeport LNG plant before restart
U.S. federal regulators have told Freeport LNG to provide information needed for the planned restart of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Texas, the second-largest U.S. LNG export plant, as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for review. Freeport shut on June 8 due to a pipeline explosion. The company has said it expects the 2.1-billion cubic feet per day plant to return to at least partial service in early- to mid-November. Prices at the Dutch hub this week fell to $27 per million British thermal units, the lowest level since June.

High school students across Hampton Roads explore offshore wind opportunities
Groups including the port authority, TCC, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, Dominion Energy and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, which is investing in the incoming facility, made presentations. All spoke to the possible careers the students could pursue after high school. Many spoke on not just the need for skilled workers in welding, electrical work and more all across the region — especially with the offshore wind energy site coming to the area — but also the benefits the students could consider as they look forward to life after high school.

A Methane Cloud Highlights Cracks in Canada’s Climate Ambitions
Canadian regulators said they were unaware of a methane cloud spotted by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite last month near gas pipelines, highlighting a disconnect between the nation’s climate ambitions and its emissions, which are the second highest per capita among G-20 countries. It was observed near the Albertan town of Lloydminster, close to the Saskatchewan-Alberta border in an area dense with oil and gas infrastructure.

Charitable giving to fight climate change rises 25% to $7.5B
The jump in giving was significant — 25% over 2020 — and it outpaced the growth of giving overall. Yet contributions to climate philanthropy accounted for just 1 to 1.5% of all giving, according to the report — just $7.5 billion to $12.5 billion out of the $810 billion given to all causes in 2021. Giving by foundations increased even more, jumping 40% from 2020 to 2021, reaching $3.1 billion. Much of that was due to new big donors like the Bezos Earth Fund, which gave $519.2 million in 2021.

Mexico’s Pemex gets go-ahead to develop once-abandoned deepwater gas field
Under Lopez Obrador, Pemex proposed to revive the project along with U.S. liquefied natural gas company New Fortress Energy Inc. Pemex had proposed to develop Lakach with New Fortress Energy using a service contract, a formula used prior to the nation’s energy sector opening in 2013-14. Under a service contract, Pemex would retain full ownership but bear the risk if prices fall. The regulator did not address the details of the contract with New Fortress Energy in its session.

Mexico, US Plan Clean-Energy Hub Along Border, AMLO Says
Mexico is looking to build five large solar plants, to help remodel car factories for electric vehicles and produce batteries and semiconductors in the state of Sonora, which shares nearly 600 kilometers (370 miles) of border with the US, Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO, said at a daily press conference. Ford Motor Co. and other car companies with plants in Mexico are interested in the idea of converting their factories to make electric vehicles, Lopez Obrador said.

PA Organization For Watersheds & Rivers Hosts Nov. 15 Webinar On Technology & Tips For Volunteer Management

PA Environment & Energy NewsClips 10.31.22

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