Asia Pacific solar project offsets emissions
March 2023 – Solar power is increasingly being used to power many commercial buildings and residential homes. But what about using solar energy to help offset emissions and reduce purchased power for industry operations?
At our Asia Pacific operations, we are participating in a large-scale project with our partner CNOOC Limited that will generate solar energy at the CNOOC Limited-operated Gaolan terminal. The generated power is connected to the grid, where it will be used to offset purchased power demand from our partnered operations. The Gaolan terminal, located in Zhuhai, China, is the largest onshore processing terminal for deepwater oil and gas fields in Asia.
The project uses a photovoltaic system, which works differently from the solar panels you see on houses or public buildings. Solar energy isn’t all the same – different panel systems are used for different types of collection. They’re commonly confused, as they all use solar energy and can be installed at ground-level or on buildings. However, solar panels convert solar radiation into heat, while photovoltaics systems are designed to convert thermal energy into electricity. Solar radiation is converted to electricity by photovoltaic cells that use reflectors to focus sunlight onto a receiver.
The photovoltaic system at the terminal uses 3,560 photovoltaic modules, which stretch about 900 metres – equivalent to the height of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
“We wanted to partner in the photovoltaic project not only because it will directly reduce the amount of purchased power that is used daily at the Gaolan terminal, but also because of the positive long-term impacts this project will have on the environment,” says Tracy Mosness, Cenovus Energy’s Vice-President Production, Development & Exploration, Asia Pacific.
The project is expected to last more than 25 years, with the potential to generate 7,980 KWh in a single-day. To put this in perspective, that’s roughly enough energy to power an entire household for a year.
The project received approval from Cenovus, CNOOC Limited and several regulators in January 2023 and has since been self-sufficient in power generation – helping further our environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets across our operations.
“This project showcases the commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions at our assets,” says Drew Zieglgansberger, Executive Vice-President, Natural Gas & Technical Services. “Partnering with industry peers allows us to accelerate the development of technologies and find innovative solutions to developing sustainability initiatives.”
Read more about our Pikes Peak South thermal project near Lloydminster, SK that is helping us further reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.