They most advanced infrastructure engineering solutions effectively leverage renewable energy resources to produce “on site” energy; this makes for more sustainable and competitive solutions that provide benefits during both the construction and operation phases.
Cities are home to thousands of square meters of terraces that could potentially be installed with solar panels. The combination of green roof systems and solar energy could increase the performance of these spaces.
The perfect location for a wind farm is in ports and surrounding areas. An infrastructure like a port, with dikes, breakwaters and service areas that extend into the sea, can take full advantage of the wind-generating conditions usually found in these areas. The wind turbines installed in the Port of Rotterdam currently have a 200 megawatt (MW) capacity, which creates 10 percent of the Netherlands’s total wind power capacity.
One of the most common criticisms of wind energy is its impact on the natural areas where the turbines are installed and the distance between the turbines and places where the power is consumed. Several architects and designers propose an original idea to counteract these disadvantages: placing wind turbines and/or solar panels on utility poles or roads. This solution makes it possible to expand the production of renewable energy and take advantage of these infrastructures. On the other hand, the closer the energy source to the transmission lines, the more efficient the system and less need to build
On the roads the sun, the wind, and the movement of the car are potential sources of renewable energy that can be harnessed in these well-trafficked places; renewable energy can also give the lights that illuminate roads another purpose.
For example, this project is a solar panel road that is designed to generate energy; it is possible to drive on these panels,
which have a textured top layer that provides traction that is at least as safe as ordinary roads.
A bridge that will be built in Calabria, a region in Southern Italy, has also been designed to serve as a true viaduct. The project will use the space of the bridge like a power plant with 26 wind turbines, combined with a road surface made of 200 meters of solar panels.
Belgium has developed the first train that runs on sunlight. A total of 40 kilometres of the train tunnel that links the Belgian city of Antwerp with the Dutch city of Amsterdam was equipped with 16,000 solar panels on the roof. These panels can produce up to 3,300 megawatts per hour per year.