Oct 12, 2020

Google reveals plans for major San Jose campus

Bizclik Editor
3 min
80-acre mixed-use facility will house 25,000 employees, contain 30 buildings and feature 4,000 housing units, as well as office, retail and public space
80-acre mixed-use facility will house 25,000 employees, contain 30 buildings and feature 4,000 housing units, as well as office, retail and public space...

Google has revealed plans for a vast 80-acre, mixed-use campus in downtown San Jose, California, which will house 25,000 employees.

The tech giant says that more than half of the ‘Downtown West’ project – which is being built in coordination with the city of San Jose – will also be allocated for residential and public space, with facilities such as childcare centres, outdoor movie screenings and ecological viewing stations.

The San Jose campus proposes 30 buildings and around 4,000 housing units, as well as office space for non-profits including YearUp and Tech Challenge, following a similar move by Facebook at its Menlo Park headquarters in 2018. The plan also includes amenities such as public maker spaces, retail spaces, a hotel and a performance area for live music, events, and movie screenings. Areas specifically for rotating food trucks to park and operate have also been proposed.

“Downtown West is designed to be a true part of the city - the opposite of a traditional corporate campus,” lead urban designer Laura Crescimano says.

The announcement comes a year after the company filed its initial campus framework, which saw formal studies being launch, as well as community feedback discussions, adds Alexa Arena, Google’s district lead of San Jose, in a video update

“Thousands of conversations helped us hone in to what we really want in a site, which was much less the corporate campus and the financial district and much more a resilient neighbourhood,” she explains.

Plans for the campus follow a similar pattern to Google’s new town-like campus in Mountain Views, California, which will convert 40-acres of Mountain View land into a mixed-use campus that is open to all residents. Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Facebook have begun departing from the traditional methods of designing campuses, which saw them closed off to the general public. The new designs aim to help attract millennial talent and appease residents in surrounding neighbourhoods, the company adds.

However, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the project is that it has been designed with the environment in mind. There will be at least 10 parks and several walking trails within the campus, while nearly all the site’s buildings will run off solar and electric energy, Arena says. “Doing that is a huge step forward in our fight against climate change, which we can experience so acutely in Northern California today,” Arena said. “We think this is a big innovation to get us there.”

The proposal documents also state that the campus will have ecological systems viewing areas, which will help raise awareness of environmental issues. “If we can’t have closer access to deep and immersive nature, we’re not going to live the type of healthy and resilient lives we’re after — there’s a lot of literature on this,” Arena says.

The company aims to make 65 percent of the campus accessible through bike, public transit, carpool, or foot, so as to reduce single car usage. It will also connect to what will be the country’s largest transit station west of the Mississippi river, the plans show.

However, actual construction commencement for the Downtown West project is still a few years out, and there could still be changes made to the design, based on community feedback. The proposal will go to the city of San Jose for approval next spring.

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Aug 3, 2021

Masdar, PT PLN begin work on floating PV solar project

2 min
Masdar and Indonesian electrical power organisation PT PLN and have started constructing a 145MW photovoltaic (PV) floating solar project in West Java

UAE-based renewable energy company Masdar, in partnership with PT PLN, an organisation specialising in electrical power and owned by the Indonesian government, has announced today it has started work on a floating photovoltaic (PV) solar project in West Java. The company says the 145MW plant is the first of its kind in the country. The project, which will be constructed on the Cirata reservoir in West Java, was financed by the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Societe Generale, and Standard Chartered Bank. 

Developing the project is PT Pembangkitan Jawa Bali Masdar Solar Energi (PMSE), a joint venture between Masdar and PT PLN subsidiary PT PJBI. Bahlil Lahadalia, Minister of Investment for the Republic of Indonesia and chairman of the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, said: “This is a flagship project of the UAE’s investment in Indonesia, and most importantly, it is in line with the Indonesian Government’s target to increase renewable energy by 23% by 2025.”

Ladhadalia added: “The Ministry of Investment fully supports the investment realisation of the Cirata Floating Solar Project by PT PJBI and Masdar.” The plant is said to be the largest in south-east Asia, and one of the biggest in the world. Around 800 jobs will be created during its construction phase. 

During the project’s development, Masdar has conducted several social initiatives to raise awareness of sustainability and strengthen the engagement of the local community. Talking about the partnership with Masdar, Amir Faisal, president director of PJBI, said: “We see tremendous potential for similar projects in Indonesia and we look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration with Masdar to work on more renewable energy projects and help our nation achieve its clean energy objectives. 

“This floating power project is a first for Indonesia and is also a significant step in PJBI’s renewable energy journey,” he added. 

 Facts about solar energy

  1. Solar power is the most abundant energy source on earth: There’s enough solar energy reaching the earth every hour to meet all of humanity’s power needs for a whole year.
  2. The cost of solar panels has fallen by 99% since 1977: The price per watt for a single solar cell in 1977 was US$77. Today that same cell costs Us$0.21 per watt US$0.39 per watt for an assembled module, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
  3. China is the global leader in solar energy: Whilst solar power is increasing in popularity in the US, China is currently the country with the biggest uptake. Research conducted by GTM in 2017 predicted that the US would install 12.4GW of solar power during that year. China, on the other hand, installed 24.4GW of power in the first half of 2017 alone. 

Image: Masdar

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