The Right to Clean Air : How floating photovoltaic is part of the solution ?
Every year, the 10th of December is marked as World Human Rights Day by the United Nations (UN). Throughout the years, the United Nations has acted and still do, for the right to equality, education, freedom of speech and thought upon a long list. It is high time to bring attention and to act for our “Right to Clean Air”. A healthy environment is a fundamental human right and the hard truth is that we are depriving ourselves of it.
While you are reading this blog on your laptop/phone, there is a 50% chance that you are breathing in polluted air that is beyond the limits of WHO’s air pollution guidelines. There are still a lot more out there who are exposed to more dangerous air pollutants. Air pollution alone causes 7 millions deaths globally every year. Recently, the first patient affected by climate change was diagnosed. We, as human beings, are responsible for this pollution increase and and it is time for us to clean up and to reverse the trend.
What causes air pollution?
As per the World Health Organization, it has been identified that the main root causes of outdoor air pollution are not directly manageable by individuals but by institutions (governments, companies etc.) as it mainly concerns “sectors like transport, energy, waste management, urban planning, and agriculture.”
When harmful solid, liquid, and gaseous pollutants are suspended in the air, they cause air pollution like smog, soot, greenhouse gases, etc. According to the NRDC, majority of the air pollution is caused by energy use and production. The burning (combustion) of fossil fuels releases harmful gases and chemicals into the air. One of the major gases released during combustion is nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide causes severe health impacts.
What are the impacts of air pollution?
Nitrogen dioxide causes damage to the human respiratory tract and in the longer run, can create severities like respiratory infections or asthma. Apart from its effect on human health, it also causes damage to the environment that we live in by affecting vegetations, causing acid rains, nutrient pollutions in coastal waters, etc.
What are the solutions?
Air quality initiatives are blooming in various industries as mentioned in WHO’s air pollution guidelines.
Daily small practices followed by individuals, helping us to do our part in controlling climate change, are blooming too:
- Using public transport wherever possible
- Turning of electricity when not in use
- Using filters for chimneys
- Planting trees
But as highlighted above, energy production from fossil fuels is one of the main sources of air pollution. So, it seems pretty obvious that the wide, loud and clear answer that we have to counterbalance is…
By opting for green energy, major greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere are reduced to a considerable amount. Floating solar is one of the way to do so. Since the 1st plant installation in 2012, Ciel & Terre FPV plants have produced around 1,967,500 MWh of clean electricity. In addition to speeding up renewable energy production, the lifetime of the technology enables to compensate CO2 production thanks to its low impact product lifecycle. Ciel & Terre floating PV plants have enabled to save 749,348.10 t eq CO2 since 2012. A study we carried out in 2020 on the product lifecycle and CO2 offset production assessed that after a year, the CO2 produced upstream for product manufacturing was compensated by the photovoltaic energy production.
The good news is that countries have realized the importance of ‘immediate action’ and have pledged to run on renewable energy real soon.
During the COP26 UN Climate change conference, major countries contributing to climate change agreed on phasing down coal and achieving a decent capacity of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030. COP26 status on bringing reliable renewable electricity to a billion people by then and avoid 4 billion tons of CO2 emissions.Finally, a clean environment is not a one man’s move. It is a collective responsibility of all of us inhabiting the planet. Individuals, industries, and the governing bodies need to come together and adapt themselves to practices that will save themselves, the generations to come, and the environment.
-  For more information, read [WHITE PAPER] RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION AND CO2 EMISSIONS? CIEL & TERRE X SOLARPLAZA (link)
-  Internal reporting, last updated 3rd November 2021
-  Source : https://ukcop26.org/