Category Archives: Transformation

Obama: The clean energy economy as an engine for growth

President Obama spoke at a graduation ceremony, pressing for climate action (15/6/2014). Here is a taster:

“I’m going to talk about one of the most significant long-term challenges that our country and our planet faces: the growing threat of a rapidly changing climate. … And since this is a very educated group, you already know the science. Burning fossil fuels release carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide traps heat. Levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are higher than they’ve been in 800,000 years. … So the question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science, accumulated and measured and reviewed over decades, has put that question to rest. The question is whether we have the will to act before it’s too late. …

We can do this … not just for our climate, but for our economy. … tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities in the 21st century. The country that seizes this opportunity first will lead the way. A low-carbon, clean energy economy can be an engine for growth and jobs for decades to come, and I want America to build that engine. Because if we do, others will follow. I want those jobs; I want those opportunities; I want those businesses right here in the United States of America.”

Regulations can reduce emissions and save people money

Tom Switzer attacks “command-and-control” mechanisms as a way of reducing carbon emissions (The Age: 29 Dec 2105). Citing the carbon tax as an example, Switzer claims these mechanisms lack broad public support and impose higher prices. In fact, command-and-control mechanisms, better known as regulations, can reduce emissions while saving people money. And unless they are politicised, as the carbon tax was, the public – and the planet – would quietly reap the benefits.

Consider one regulation: minimum energy performance standards on appliances.  The last fridge I bought – “a cheap model” – uses less than half the electricity of my previous fridge, saving me more than $100 per year. According to a 2014 review, minimum energy performance standards reduce Australia’s emissions by about 4 per cent, while saving us $4.60 for every $1 spent.

Making our buildings, equipment and vehicles more energy efficient is probably the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions. But we can only capture these savings by requiring manufacturers and builders to comply with performance standards.

Andrea Bunting, Brunswick
Letter to The Age: 5 Jan 2016
(now a broken link)

Key Words: Climate Change, transformation
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Renewable energy will renew our economy

Malcolm Turnbull’s advocacy of a climate of innovation is long overdue, especially with the increasing risk of stranded assets from continuing investment in fossil fuels. Australian researchers in CSIRO and the universities have already contributed to innovations in solar energy and other technologies of the future, but these have mostly been taken up overseas.

Meanwhile we have largely failed to invest in renewable energy technology in Australia despite having the largest potential per capita of any country. Australian governments need to provide financial incentives to exploit these technologies, which include solar, wind, wave and tidal, and especially energy storage technologies that can allow us to export renewable energy via hydrogen, renewable ammonia manufacture, high voltage DC cables, or other technologies.  A rapid transition to non-polluting highly efficient technologies is long overdue. It will form the basis of a renewed economy both at home and for export earnings.

Barrie Pittock, Brighton East (Climate Scientist)
Letters to the Age: 3 Jan 2016

Key Words: Climate Change, transformation
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USA: New renewable capacity 1,460 times more than new coal capacity

Renewable energy sources have accounted for more than 60 per cent of the more than 7,000MW of new electricity generating capacity brought online in the US in 2015, a new report has revealed.

The report, the latest Energy Infrastructure Update from FERC, shows that wind energy was the major single contributor to new capacity in the first nine months of the year, accounting for 2,966 megawatts (MW) of the total 7,276 MW of new capacity – or more than 40 per cent – and beating out gas.

Solar power followed with 1,137MW, biomass with 205MW, geothermal energy with 45MW, and hydropower with 27MW. Gas, meanwhile, contributed 2,884MW.

Continue reading USA: New renewable capacity 1,460 times more than new coal capacity

Apple to Take Another Big Bite Of Solar

Apple has announced the completion of a major solar project and its intentions to have more constructed.

Apple stated construction on 40 megawatts of solar PV in the Sichuan Province of China is now complete and will produce up to 80 million kilowatt-hours per year of clean energy. This is more than the total amount of electricity consumed by Apple’s China offices and retail stores; making the company’s operations in the country carbon-neutral.

Apple also announced plans to build more than 200 megawatts of solar projects in the northern, eastern and southern grid regions of China; which will begin to offset the energy used in Apple’s supply chain.

Energy Matters: 23 Oct 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, transformation, Solar Power
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