Category Archives: Environment

Stuff about the environment and our relationship with it

Big Buisness Moving Into The Renewable Energy Market

Paul Hanrahan
AES , is branching out to wind power generation and other alternative energy. The company which has operations in 26 countries is also interested in entering the 28 billion dollar carbon trading market. Its chief executive, Paul Hanrahan, gave an interview with the new york times about the companies plans.

Also in the news Ted Turner the guy who owns TNT and a whole bunch of other stuff, is starting his own solar business venture with DTSolar.

So what have these tycoons seen that others have not? Simple, renewables are the future, and its going to be much easier to get in on the ground floor than it will be later. No matter how you feel about big business, or the free market system, there is no good reason why you can not make a lot of money and create renewable energy at the same time. In fact the wind and solar industry are the fastest growing sector of the energy market.

ted turner dtsolarImagine a carbon regulated world (its coming trust me, and soon.) in which carbon emissions become an added cost. Anyone positioned to supply renewable energy is set to dominate the market. With a large portfolio of renewables you can either offset your emissions and thus avoid added carbon cost, or you can go full renewables and sell your carbon offsets to dirty companies, either way you will be better off than anyone burning old fashion fuels.

Companies like Exxon are steadfastly holding to the old school pump and burn model of energy production. They have most likely seen that a coming shortage for (cheap) world oil supplies will only make their current oil stocks more valuable. In fact their future depends on it. It is no secret that Exxon spends millions of dollars each year to maintain the political status-quo in America. They have to, if the political climate were to suddenly shift to a very pro-renewable energy one there is a chance that the shift over to renewables would be so swift that Exxon would be left holding worthless oil that no one wanted.

Renewables are coming and coming fast. If large energy suppliers wish to position themselves to remain dominate in the energy market of tomorrow they are going to need a diverse portfolio of wind, solar, wave, geothermal, and biomass/bio-fuel.

Read the times excerpt from AES and the Turner press release below the fold.

Continue reading Big Buisness Moving Into The Renewable Energy Market

Australian Solar Car Breaks Record

sunswift 3 in trafficAfter leaving Perth’s Scarborough Beach last Wednesday at 8:20am Jaycar Sunswift III arrived in the Sydney CBD at 1:20pm yesterday. Despite cloudy weather for the first two days of the record attempt the team was still able to push through and shatter the previous record by 3 days.

Read more of this awesome journey on the teams website here.

From here

A group of university students from Sydney have broken the world record for the fastest solar powered road trip from Perth to Sydney.

The team of 11 engineering students from the University of New South Wales made the trip in the Sunswift 3 in five days, beating the 1994 record by nearly three days.

The solar panelled car travelled an average of 700 kilometres a day at speeds of around 70 kilometres an hour.

Engineering student Andrew Pratley says he hopes more consideration will be given to similar vehicles in the future.

“Climate change is a huge topical issue and examples like this show we don’t need fossil fuels to drive on the roads,” he said.

“It doesn’t present a practical alternative in the next five to 10 years but it shows that a group of students can drive across Australia with no fuel, then there probably is better alternatives for us to consider as a nation on where we go with our future transport.”

European Union Proposes Agressive Energy Plan

energy for the futureSometime I wish the American government “got it.” Europe is leaving us in the dust with there energy policy.

From the Europeans Unions plan for their energy future.

Europe’s energy landscape and climate is changing rapidly. The last eleven years have included the ten hottest since records began while the majority of the world’s glaciers are in rapid retreat. The current energy supply crises have highlighted our dependence on external sources of energy. The emission trading scheme means that climate change has been brought into the boardroom of every major company across Europe. Energy policy and climate change have ceased to be abstract ideas, it is about every day life.

On 10 January, the Commission put forward an integrated set of proposals to tackle climate change and create a new Energy Policy for Europe.

The aim is that the European Union leads the world in accelerating the shift to a low carbon economy. This needs to be done in a way which keeps Europe competitive in the global marketplace and in a way which increases Europe’s security. At the heart of this are ambitious but credible targets for further reductions in greenhouse gases beyond 2010.

The Commission proposed to cut its own CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020, with the objective of limiting global climate change to 2°C. This cut should be increased to 30% if an international agreement is reached. It also proposed to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the overall energy mix. It reaffirmed its commitment to improving the EU’s energy efficiency by 20%. This would make Europe the most energy efficient region in the world.
The Commission set out proposals to create a true Internal Energy Market with further action required to deliver these aims through a clearer separation of energy production from energy distribution.

By the time we all wake up and wonder where the oil and the coast line went the Europeans are going to be sitting pretty with their renewable based high efficiency low carbon economy. If America wants to remain the worlds super power it better start putting up some wind turbines.

America’s economic future depends heavily on moving towards a low carbon/high renewable/high efficiency economy. We could be leading the world in the manufacture of new high-tech renewable energy technology. We should be the leader in everything from wind turbines to solar panels to energy sipping computer to gas free automobiles. Instead we seem to be worried about anything but.

The Best Of The Worst?

oil derrickSo if you own a car, chances are you are buying gas. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Either way we can vote with out dollars and try and choose the companies that hurt us (and the planet) the least. This rewards these companies for trying to do good, and punished the other companies that fail to give a care. The Sierra Club has compiles a lovely little list of who sucks and who doesn’t in the oil industry. With over 400 million (!!!) gallons of gas purchased every single day it becomes clear that a concerted effort from consumers can very quickly change the way in which these companies operate.

These companies are among the largest and most powerful enterprises on the planet. The complexity of their organization and activities, the vastness of their reach, and the huge number of variables involved make objective ranking difficult. That said, it is possible to lump them into three general categories, as Sierra editorial interns Robynne Boyd and Sarah Ives do below: the “bottom of the barrel” (ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips), the “middle of the barrel” (Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, Valero Energy Corporation, and Citgo), and the “top of the barrel” (BP and Sunoco). But you don’t have to take our word for it: Review the information we’ve gathered, and make your own choice.

Read the full article here

Bottom of the Barrel

Middle of the Barrel

Top of the Barrel

Continue reading The Best Of The Worst?

Renewable Energy Roundup

green roofgardenDon’t you hate it when you work out your whole renewable energy roundup and then accidentally delete the whole witty thing right before you click publish? I know I do. So you will have to take my word for it but, what I just wrote was wonderful. While I curse my over zealous clicking finger you can read this weeks (2nd) renewable energy roundup. We will be taking a renewable trip around the world (in way less than 80 days) to bring you stored wind energy in Iowa, green roofs from Japan, and A garbage eating monster from England. Lets go!

Continue reading Renewable Energy Roundup