Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'm Even Further In Front

A little while back, i calculated the financial benefits of my energy savings. It's been a while, so i thought i'd repeat the exercise - now that i'm even more energy efficient.

Compared to 4 years ago, i'm saving $55.79 per bill. Of course, i subscribe to 100% greenpower which (on my last bill) cost me $26.23

End result? I've reduced my electricity-related emissions to ZERO, and i'm still in front by about 30 bucks.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

100% Renewables by 2020

The people at Beyond Zero Emissions have just released their Stationary Energy Sector report. It is part of their Zero Carbon Australia project, and details exactly how Australia could move to 100% renewable electricity by 2020.

With Australia being as sunny as it is, the main component is Concentrated Solar Thermal (pictured above) which focusses sunlight on a central tower. The enormous heat that is generated is then converted into electricity (even after dark).

The above map shows where the solar stations (yellow) and wind farms (blue) could be located in order to provide the reliable supply of electricity we are used to. In extreme circumstances, biomass and hydropower are ready as backups.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hot Planets

Being the nerdy sciency type, i've been watching a documentary on the solar system. It reminded me about the planet Venus.

As we know from school, Venus is about halfway between Mercury (average temperature 167°C) and Earth (15°C). So we might expect Venus to be somewhere between fifty and a hundred. However, with an atmosphere composed mostly of carbon dioxide, the average Venusian temp is 464°C.
[source: NASA planetary data sheet]

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Teach Yourself Energy Saving

From the teach yourself series, Nick White's book on saving energy in the home contains many references to British programmes and government initiatives. So much so, that i almost didn't bother writing about it.

But i was convinced by the middle half of the book, which contains a range of energy saving tips for different areas of the home. The majority of these are just as applicable to Australian homes as to the British ones.

Monday, February 15, 2010

55 Countries - 78 Percent

Despite all the disappointment about Copenhagen, i read that 55 countries (who represent 78% of the world's greenhouse emissions) have submitted targets that they will aim for.

I followed the link to see what the various countries had signed up for. Only Belarus and Croatia had percentage reductions as tiny as Australia's.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sticking Up For Green Energy

These are the stickers my energy provider sent me when i signed up for greenpower.

I'd put them away and forgot they were there. Wondering what to stick them on.

Friday, February 05, 2010

What's A Tipping Point?

We hear a bit about the climate's tipping points that we seriously want to avoid. But what exactly is a tipping point. This little video explains the concept and gives a few examples of the feedback mechanisms.

I also like the statement at the end:
Those who came before us didn't know about this problem, and those who come after will be powerless to do anything about it. But for us there's still time. We'd better get a move on though.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

China Leads The World

When it comes to emissions, there's a lot of talk about China. Perhaps too much talk. What isn't talked about as much is their progress on renewable energy.

The New York Times says in 2009 China overtook Denmark, Germany, Spain and the USA to become the world's largest wind turbine maker - as well as being the world's biggest maker of solar panels. Now I get Obama's recent comments about not wanting to be in second place.

Oh, and you know those "green jobs" that are often talked about. In 2008, China reached 1.12 million people working renewable energy - and that's going up by 100,000 each year. "You have to move fast with the market" says the president of Vestas China. "Nobody has ever seen such fast development in a wind market."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Our Choice - Kids' Edition

Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth was very good at explaining the whole climate change situation - and just how severe the problem is. His new book, Our Choice outlines the things we (as a society) can do to avoid the consequences of climate change.

All the library copies were on-loan, so I took a look at the young reader's edition. It is a very comfortable read - a chapter for each of 15 technologies and strategies we can use. Each chapter is around 10 pages, and is very informative - without baffling the reader. It reads a bit like a year 8 science book - but with lots of great photos and diagrams.

Monday, February 01, 2010

State of the Union

Repower America put together this package of energy-related highlights from this year's State of the Union address by the president.