Walt Disney World is set to open a new 50-megawatt solar power facility by the end of the year that will be capable of completely powering two parks.
A recent New York Times article showed off the facility, which is located within a 270-acre area dedicated to renewable energy just outside of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The facility, composed of over half a million solar panels, is part of Disney’s overall effort to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2020 (And thus, the spirit of the Universe of Energy lives on). The facility was developed by the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Origis Energy USA.
This new facility should offer some serious help towards that goal, at least as far as Walt Disney World is concerned. Its output will be the equivalent of powering 10,000 homes per year. It should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 57,000 tons annually, according to Disney’s estimates. However, it should be noted that the facility’s output won’t go directly to the resort, but rather to the local power grid.
Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President of Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment, told the Times, “our guests tell us the environment is important, so it’s a big deal for us, not just for creating incredible content, but for being a responsible citizen of the world.”
The article also describes Disney Parks and Resorts’ efforts to utilize renewable energy around the world. At Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade: Dreamlights is powered by solar panels on eight building rooftops. Disneyland Paris’ two parks and an unnamed hotel are powered by geothermal energy. Shanghai Disney Resort has a cooling and heating facility that converts waste heat into energy, reducing emissions by 60 percent. And their efforts aren’t limited to the land: three new ships from Disney Cruise Line will run on clean-burning liquefied natural gas when the launch in 2021, 2022, and 2023, respectively.
Disney Parks chairman Bob Chapek said in a statement, “at our sites around the world, we’re investing in hidden magic to continually reduce our environmental footprint.”