10.) Statkraft’s Osmotic Power Projects — Norway
Europe’s leading renewable energy company, Statkraft is a global pioneer in osmotic energy. Through the natural process of osmosis, fresh water and salt water are guided into separate chambers, divided by an artificial membrane. The pressure of the process generates waterfalls that can be utilized in a power generating turbine. As the company continues working on pilot projects, Statkraft claims that osmotic power has the potential of 1600 to 1700 Twh—nearly the equivalent of China’s total electricity consumption.
9.) Andasol—Andalusia, Spain
Alongside an empty mountain plateau in Andalusia, some 600,000 parabolic mirrors are now connected and operating in the world’s largest solar power station (150 MW). Located 1,100 meters above sea level, the clear and less turbulent atmosphere allows for the capture of more solar energy than the entire Saudi Arabian peninsula. It’s as big as 210 football fields and will generate enough energy for half a million people.
8.) Rance Tidal Power Station—Brittany, France
The world’s first tidal power station, located on the estuary of the Rance River, is now the world’s second largest tidal power station—after holding the number one spot for 40 years. With an annual output of about 600 Gwh, the station has a peak rating of 240 MW generated by its 24 turbines, and attracts about 200,000 visitors per year.
7.) Solnova Solar Power Station—Sanlucar la Mayor, Spain
As the largest CSP power station in the world, Solnova’s plant consists of five separate units of 50 MW each (250 MW total), each owned and operated by Abengoa Solar. Each power station utilizes parabolic troughs, while some are also equipped to support natural gas as a secondary fuel source for power generation.
6.) Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Plant—Sihwa Lake, South Korea
Completed last year, the 254 MW Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Plant is the largest tidal power installation in the world. Ten 25.4 MW submerged bulb turbines are driven in an unpumped flood generation scheme that makes use of a seawall constructed in 1994 for flood mitigation and agricultural purposes.
5.) Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS)—California, USA
As the largest solar energy generating facility in the world, SEGS consists of nine solar power plants in California’s Mojave Desert with an installed capacity of 354 MW. Additionally, turbines are utilized at night by burning natural gas. According to NextEra, the plant powers over 230,000 homes and displaces 3,800 tons of pollution annually.
4.) Walney Wind Farm—Cumbria, U.K.
With 102 turbines stretching 28 square miles off the coast of Cumbria, the Walney wind farm recently became the world’s largest offshore wind facility. However, DONG Energy, a major stakeholder in the project, is also involved in an even larger London Array wind farm, which could produce an upwards of 1000 MW when completed. As of now, the Walney wind farm has a maximum output of 367.2 MW, and involved some of the fastest wind farm construction of its type.
3.) The Tilbury—Tilbury, U.K.
The world’s largest biomass-fueled power plant just came online in the UK, generating an upwards of 750 MW of base load renewable power. The new station burns wood pellets to produce electricity and is located on the site of Tilbury’s aging coal-fired power plant, which is set to shut down in 2015.
2.) Roscoe Wind Farm—Texas, USA
Among the many large wind farms across the state of Texas, the Roscoe wind farm is the largest, with a capacity of 781 MW. Owned and operated by E.ON Climate & Renewables, the 627 wind turbines were set up in four phases since 2008, costing over $1 billion to supply power to 250,000 homes.
1.) The Geysers—California, USA
The Geysers is a complex consisting of 22 geothermal power plants, drawing steam from over 350 wells, with an active installed capacity of 1517 MW. About 72 miles north of San Francisco, 19 of the 22 plants are owned and operated by Calpine Corporation with the other two under Northern California Power Agency and Silicon Valley Power. Since the activities of one plant affect those around it, the consolidation of plant ownership at the Geysers has been beneficial in allowing the plants to operate cooperatively rather than in their own short-term interest. Currently, the Geysers produce enough electricity for 1.1 million people, but techniques developed from Enhanced Geothermal Systems are expected to increase future production. Geothermal energy accounts for over 10,000 MW of installed capacity around the world, with the largest capacities in the U.S. (3,086 MW), Philippines and Indonesia.
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