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EGEB: Fort Bragg gets the largest floating solar in the US southeast

  • The US Army’s Fort Bragg, NC, will soon host the largest floating solar plant in the Southeast
  • 20% of US homes use 45% of all cooling consumption nationwide, according to Sense.
  • The UK’s National Health System becomes the world’s first health system to commit to net zero.
  • Arcadia Power is committed to making clean energy work for the planet and your bank account — all without changing your utility company. Sign up to receive your $20 Amazon Gift Card.

US Army’s big floating solar

The US Army’s Fort Bragg in North Carolina will soon be home to the largest floating solar plant in the Southeast. It will be a 1.1-megawatt system as part of a Utility Energy Service Contract awarded to Duke Energy. It’s a $36 million contract.

Ameresco, Duke Energy’s prime contractor, will build it on Big Muddy Lake at Camp Mackall. Fort Bragg will own and operate the system once construction is completed. Construction is expected to begin in November.

Fort Bragg has 50,000 active duty personnel — the largest population of any military installation in the Department of Defense.

The floating solar installation will be paired with a 2 MW battery energy storage system. The system will supplement power to Fort Bragg from the local grid and provide backup power during electric service outages. The post will also see lighting and water upgrades, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, and boiler system improvements.

The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory researchers estimate that installing floating solar photovoltaics on the more than 24,000 manmade US reservoirs could generate about 10% of the US’s annual electricity production.

It makes Sense

Twenty percent of Americans have HVAC systems that cost the homeowner an extra $882 annually on average to keep their homes cool — almost four times as much as the most efficient similar homes, according to a new study conducted by smart home energy company Sense.

But here’s the surprising finding: The 20% of homes with the highest cooling account for 45% of all cooling consumption nationwide.

Updating these inefficient homes could save 8% of US residential electricity usage overall. Updating and weatherizing the least efficient homes could save consumers $15.3 billion annually while moving the US closer to climate change goals. Incentive programs that updated the 20% of homes with the highest cooling usage would eliminate 115 billion kWh of electricity usage annually. By comparison, in 2019, the US generated 107 billion kWh from solar and 300 billion kWh from wind.

Sense CEO Mike Phillips said:

Once we crunched the data, we were surprised to see that improving that 20% least efficient group of homes could save energy equivalent to all solar generation in 2019. What’s changing is that we now have smart home data that can guide policymakers and utilities to get the biggest impact from their clean energy programs.

NHS goes net zero

The UK’s National Health Service today announced a multi-year plan to become the world’s first net zero national health system.

The NHS has adopted two targets, according to Business Green:

For emissions under its direct control to reach net zero by 2040, with an interim reduction target of 80% by 2028-32; and for its wider supply chain footprint to reach net zero by 2045, with an 80% reduction target set between 2036 and 2039.

The report issued by the NHS, which you can read in full here, “provides a detailed account of the NHS’ modeling and analytics underpinning the latest NHS carbon footprint, trajectories to net zero, and the interventions required to achieve that ambition. It lays out the direction, scale, and pace of change. It describes an iterative and adaptive approach, which will periodically review progress and aims to increase the level of ambition over time.”

It details such changes as completing a £50 million LED lighting replacement program, working toward road-testing for what would be the world’s first zero-emission ambulance by 2022, and working with suppliers to ensure that all of them meet or exceed the NHS’ commitment on net zero emissions before the end of the decade.

The NHS is Europe’s largest employer as well as the UK’s largest emitter. NHS chief executive Sir Simons Stevens said:

It is not enough for the NHS to treat the problems caused by air pollution and climate change — from asthma to heart attacks and strokes — we need to play our part in tackling them at source.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.