UK Okays World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm, Cranberry Farms Harvest the Sun, Canadian Kids Instruct Their Teachers to Divest from Oil, and Canada Prioritizes Protection of Ecosystem Hot Spots

by | Mar 18, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

UK Okays World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm, Cranberry Farms Harvest the Sun, Canadian Kids Instruct Their Teachers to Divest from Oil, and Canada Prioritizes Protection of Ecosystem Hot Spots



Plummeting cranberry prices and the country’s ongoing trade wars have America’s cranberry industry eyeing a possible new savior: solar power. Some cranberry farmers in Massachusetts, the nation’s second largest grower after Wisconsin, are proposing to build solar panels above the bogs they harvest each fall.

It’s a novel approach to blending renewable energy technology with traditional farming that has been researched across the world but not tried before on large-scale, commercial crop cultivation, according to solar power and agricultural industry experts. The basic idea is to build solar arrays high enough off the ground and in more spaced-out clusters to allow for crops to be safely grown and harvested underneath. 

Cranberry farmers hope to shoulder lean times for their industry by gleaning extra revenue — in the form of long-term land leases with solar developers — while still producing the same quality berries they have for generations. 

Michael Wainio, a fourth-generation cranberry farmer, said he has sold off parts of his land, started a side business harvesting bogs for other growers, and launched a farm stand, deli and bakery operation in recent years all just to make ends meet.

Wainio is now working with developer NextSun Energy. NextSun has installed roughly 27,000 solar panels over about 60 acres (24 hectares) of active bogs across three farms in Carver, MA near Cape Cod. The project produces about 10 megawatts of energy, or roughly enough to power more than 1,600 homes a year, according to NextSun.

In Massachusetts, cranberry growers and their solar partners are hoping to take advantage of a new renewable energy incentive meant to encourage such “dual use” solar and agriculture projects, as the state refers to them.

Experts agree that dual use might be a great fit for cranberry growers.  One is quoted as saying, “If you think about a cranberry bog, it’s way out in the open, and that’s for a reason. It needs sun.”

DEEPER DIVE: PV Magazine, UMass


An environmental coalition of students across Ontario, Canada are calling on teachers to push their pension fund to dissociate from companies that produce or transport fossil fuel products. Reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the coalition publishes a YouTube video asking teachers to demand the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan halt all new investments and phase out current investments in oil gas, coal and pipeline companies by 2025. Instead, the coalition calls for new investments in infrastructure  and companies that build a zero-carbon economy.

The environmental coalition calling on teachers include some activist groups you might be familiar with: Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health, Fridays for Future Toronto and a group of working and retired Ontario teachers.  In the video, one student said, “stop investing your money in climate failure.” 

DEEPER DIVE: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation



The Dogger Bank Wind Farm in Britain, soon-to-be world’s largest offshore wind farm, is advancing. The project is a 50/50 joint venture between SSE Renewables and Norwegian energy major Equinor, which recently announced the closing the deal to finance the farm. It will be located off the coast of northeast England and have a total capacity of 3.6 gigawatts (GW) – enough to power 4.5 million households in the UK annually.

The facility will be built in three phases, with the overall project expected to be finished in 2026. The plan is to make Dogger Bank A and Dogger Bank B (phase one and phase two) simultaneously. Each will have a capacity of 1.2 GW. They are using GE’s 13-megawatt Haliade-X turbines. Construction already began in late 2020.

Dogger Bank C will be developed later once project financing is secured, projected to be end of 2021, allowing for construction to commence. SSE Renewables will lead the effort, and Equinor will manage the facility once operational.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in declaring bold goals for the UK re: renewables said: We believe that in 10 years, offshore wind will be powering every home in the country, with our target rising from 30 GW to 40 GW. You heard me right: your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle, the whole lot of them, will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands.

DEEPER DIVE: Intelligent Living



A team of mapping scientists are working together to build new research on some of Canada’s most valuable areas for conservation. Reported by the Narwhal, the team’s research is focused on three ecosystem services: carbon storage for climate regulation, fresh water and nature-based recreation. 

These ecosystems provide key benefits for people, but also there is publicly available national data on these services. The scientists mapped carbon storage based on available data on forests and soil across Canada, and water with hydrological databases. 

The team is also going one step further though. They are not just identifying areas in nature that can provide these services, but also looking for ecosystem hotspots that should be prioritized for further protection. Some of these hotspots include eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains, the north shore of Lake Superior and Hudson Bay lowlands. 

DEEPER DIVE: The Narwhal