The Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research Station in East Antarctica proves that renewable energy from wind turbines and solar panels can power a community with zero emissions electricity anywhere in the world.
The station was first imagined by Belgian explorer Alain Hubert, who crossed Antarctica by kite ski in 1998.
It was constructed by the International Polar Foundation together with many partners and has welcomed researchers since 2008 who come to measure ice flows, the atmosphere, and natural biomes.
Almost every inch of the station is covered in solar panels—on the roof, on the walls, on the side of sleeping containers. They are even screwed to frames anchored to the ground.
Solar panels have to be mounted high above the snow covered ground to capture the 24 hours of daylight during the austral summer.
Wind turbines are drilled into the granite ridge beneath the snow and ice, removing the need for large concrete foundations. (Concrete will not set in the bitter cold of Antarctica) Their blades are maintained with carefully designed polar lubricants, but they can shut down production during intense storms.
These renewable energy sources melt snow for water, which is filtered and reused on site to reduce waste.
There’s no need for conventional heating here either. Nine layers of cladding and insulation keep the biting Antarctic cold out, and the pleasant warmth of the station in. Every piece of electrical equipment runs on renewable energy.
Reference- Clean Technica, Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research Station website