Whilst not the first casualty of Australia’s energy policy quagmire, the 100 jobs lost at Keppel Prince – a sustainable engineering company in Victoria – is perhaps the largest that Australia has seen so far. Due to the cost associated with scrapping the RET, Keppel Prince is no longer able to support its Wind Farm division, which has no incoming projects after November 2014. The Greens have labelled it “a tragic day for clean energy and for the workers involved”. Continue reading 100 new casualties of the RET
Two weeks ago, the Perth Diocese announced it would divest its fossil fuel investments, and last week its Canberra counterparts did the same. This week the Melbourne Diocese has followed suit, resolving to take “all reasonable steps” to divest its stake in corporations whose revenues from fossil fuel extraction or production exceed 20 per cent of their total revenue.
At their annual 800 person strong General Synod (akin to an AGM), Professor Kate Rigby, Chair of Monash University’s Environmental & Humanities Department spoke about the changes to the energy paradigm in the present day. “While coal might have been cheaper [than renewable energy], this is only because its environmental impacts have not been factored into costing and because coal and other fossil fuel industries receive massive government subsidies.”
According to Environment Victoria, the Australian Federal Government spends approximately $10 billion per year on handouts (subsidies, tax breaks, infrastructure and cash) to the larger fossil fuel polluters. Continue reading The real cost of fossil fuel subsidies
An actuarial study just released by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) reports that moving away from fossil fuel investments “could cost a 45-year-old almost $58,000 in lost retirement savings“. In recent months, many institutional investors have announced a move away from coal investments in favour of clean energy portfolios, and it seems that the Minerals Council and its Chief Executive Brendan Pearson are using this report to continue the onslaught against a culture of change and sustainable development. Continue reading Energy Quality vs Quantity: Why coal is restraining our economy
Four years ago, architect Michael Pawlyn recorded a TED Talk at the TEDSalon London 2010, where he spoke about the benefits of biomimicry and how it can be used to change the way society approaches sustainable design. Watch his presentation above, and you will be excited about the wonder and simplicity of natural systems that are guiding the way that our cutting edge developers and dreamers are creating a sustainable future.
The second half of his talk Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture, focused on the potential of the Sahara Forest Project (SF Project). Put simply, the project is ‘…a combination of environmental technologies to enable restorative growth, defined as revegetation and creation of green jobs through profitable production of food, freshwater, biofuels and electricity…’. Essentially this project aims to revegetate large areas of arid desert, whilst simultaneously using a closed loop system to create food, energy, freshwater and natural building products on the same land.
Four years on, the Sahara Forest Project has strong backing by many nations, and Qatar has hosted the pilot facility to asses and nurture the viability of the project since its completion in December 2012. In June of this year, Jordan signed an agreement to build a Test & Demonstration Centre, which will act as a hub for innovation and capability to showcase the economic viability of the project.
So what can we learn from this amazing experiment and its successes to date? Here are five lessons that will have a profound impact on the future of this project, and other projects that are in the pipeline around the world. Continue reading Lessons from the Sahara Forest Project