The OECD Environmental Performance review of Australia, released yesterday, comes at a critical time in the lead-up to Federal elections in May. Three formerly Liberal-aligned candidates are standing as independents in opposition to longstanding Liberal members of parliament, on the basis that the Liberal National Party, in power since 2013 has failed to adequately address climate change and its many challenges, including environmental degradation. The OECD review agrees with them.
Chemical manufacturing accounts for around 10% of global energy consumption and 7% of industrial greenhouse emissions. Researchers at RMIT University have developed a material that can capture 99% of light and directly apply it to power chemical reactions thereby slashing emissions and improving the efficiencies of current processes.
Late 2018 saw the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Community Power Agency publish a comprehensive plan to power New South Wales and Victorian high schools with 100% renewable energy. Tomorrow, Australian high-school students in most states return to their classrooms with extreme summer weather fresh in their memories. Many will have climate change and energy transition on their minds.
The Australia Institute’s first emissions audit of 2019 shows renewables pushing coal aside to reduce Australia’s emissions 20% below the peak recorded in 2008; and the load that January’s high temperatures would normally exert on the grid has been mitigated by high uptake of rooftop solar.
The opening of SolarShare’s Mount Majura Solar Farm to investors this week represents a significant milestone in the community-energy sector in Australia, says Nicky Ison, founding Director of the Community Power Agency. “It is the first community solar farm in Australia that is grid connected in front of the meter,” she says, and at 1 MW capacity it will also be the country’s biggest community-owned solar farm.
There are only 147 of the endearing and vulnerable kākāpō left. New Zealand’s 100% renewable Meridian Energy is tapping national ingenuity to encourage romance between these large green parrots, boost awareness of their plight, and most importantly, grow their population.
Last night, 25 rooftop-solar dealers from around Australia gathered on the edge of Sydney Harbour to celebrate their initiation into the SMA PowerUP Program. A new supported-network approach to serving the booming residential and commercial rooftop markets, PowerUP has been devised by the Australian arm of longstanding German inverter manufacturer SMA. It recognises the importance of developing deep expertise, and of knowledge and kudos sharing in a competitive environment.
South Australian-based company Reclaim PV estimates it will open Australia’s first commercial solar-panel recycling plant in mid 2019. Its high-energy founders also have a broader mission — to inform better environmental practices throughout the solar value chain.
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