Cities worldwide are experimenting with alternative energy strategies with a strong focus on renewable resources and cost efficiency. These energy projects strive to achieve both short and long-term savings to improve municipality performance.
The city of South Portland, Maine, conducted a feasibility study on the potential construction of a solar farm on a landfill site. The solar photovoltaic farm would produce energy to power municipal buildings for 40 years before needing to be replaced, helping reduce costs and also set an example for the private sector to follow suit, Bangor Daily reported.
The project would be divided into three phases of installing a solar panel – able to produce 660 kilowatts of power each – across the top of the landfill site. When the project is completed, the city expects to offset about 40 percent of its energy expenses with the solar panels.
Excluding legal fees and landfill engineering costs, the project’s total bill would be around $6.3 million. Because the panels can operate individually as well as in a group, the project could be rolled out in more phases over a longer period of time if costs are too high. According to the feasibility study, one financial approach for the city to take would be forming a power purchase agreement with a third party financier along with some tax incentives, Bangor Daily reported.
After installing more than 4,100 LED lights throughout the city, Sydney has reported a 34 percent cut in power usage which translates to $370,000 in savings.
The project was a no-brainer for Sydney officials as public lighting accounts for more than one-third of the city’s total energy bill, and LED lighting provides higher-quality, more efficient lighting than traditional lamps. LED lights appear brighter when turned on than tungsten or sodium lamps because the light created spans a wider range of the color spectrum, Gizmodo reported.
Sydney plans to convert 6,500 of the 8,500 public lights the city is responsible for over to LED lamps.
The city of Lancaster revealed an energy storage system at the city’s Museum of Art and History in California, as well as an electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot. The city used a California Energy Commission grant to purchase and install the storage system and charging station as part of an ongoing effort to invest in alternative energy sources.
The museum’s energy storage system is to be used during peak offers, which will help offset high-demand charges that will increase electric bills. Many businesses and organizations in California have reported demand charges accounting for 50 percent of their electric bills, as the costs rise 7 percent each year.
The energy storage system aims to cut demand charges by 50 percent by creating a more flexible power grid to efficiently distribute energy. When municipal buildings like the museum use less energy, it saves taxpayer dollars.
In addition, the electric vehicle charging stations is able to charge compatible vehicles up to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes. It will be added to the list of seven other electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city.