HS2’s Old Oak Common station in London given go-ahead
UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today given the go-ahead to construct the HS2 train station in Old Oak Common in London. It is said that the station will be the UK’s largest built in one stage, and will create more than 2,300 jobs.
Mr. Shapps said: “The start of permanent works at the largest train station ever built in the UK in one go, Old Oak Common, marks yet more progress in delivering HS2, the high-speed, high-capacity and low-carbon railway that will form the backbone of our national transport network. This ‘super hub’ station shows our Plan for Jobs in action – kickstarting major regeneration, creating 2,300 jobs and 250 apprenticeships in construction – and underlines this Government’s determination to build back better”.
Construction of the 32-acre site will include a 1.1-mile-long underground wall making way for six HS2 platforms. HS2 Ltd said the station aims to offer “unrivaled connectivity” with services to four crossrail platforms, four mainland platforms in South Wales, as well as platforms in the Midlands and North of England.
A notable feature of the station is its roof, which is the size of three football pitches. Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “The start of permanent works at Old Oak Common station, our first station under construction, is a significant step for phase one of HS2, as we deliver world-leading engineering to create what will arguably be one of the best-connected railway super hubs in the UK”.
The HS2 project so far
Announced in January 2009 as a government plan to construct a new high-speed railway network connecting London, the West Midlands, Leeds, and Manchester, HS2 or “High Speed 2” initially sparked criticism for its potential impact on the country’s green spaces and countryside.
With costs of over £42bn for the tracks and a further £8bn for rolling stock, the HS2 is the single most expensive project ever attempted by the British government. While the plan may have been announced over a decade ago, construction started in 2017 and is still ongoing. It is due to be completed in 2025, although the COVID-19 pandemic has almost definitely put a spanner in the works.
If the process goes according to plan, HS2 Ltd says that Phase 1, the London to Birmingham line, will open to the public in 2026, following commissioning and testing. Phase 2, which includes a route from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, is due to start construction the same year, with an estimated completion and operation date of 2033.
Masdar, PT PLN begin work on floating PV solar project
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.