Friday, February 17, 2006

News Review (4 of 6): Progress in Sustainability (Renewables Access, Energy metering, Sweden going Oil Free)


Using renewable energy is fast becoming a sensible business idea for many groups of people. One of the mad ideas I heard recently involved using the wind to power a boat! I know what you are thinking, it`ll never catch on. The original idea here is using a giant kite instead of a sail, in doing this large freight vessels can avoid the inconvenience a mast produces when loading up and unloading, by simply folding away the kite. It is estimated that upto 380 million tones of fuel a year could be save if this technology was widely taken up. That is globally significant, a great not loose option for tackling climate change and saving money on diesel.

NRDC have just launched a new website, building green from principle to practice, the emphasis being on the sound financial benefits that can be achieved through lower resource wastage and higher staff moral. Thanks to sustainablog for this.

"The Building Green website includes case studies of companies that have lowered water and energy costs with the use of green building technologies and achieved higher occupancy rates and rents by marketing their green features"

Another interesting piece of news is that the Italian energy market, long dominated by oil power has been opened up to all micro-renewables, on a favorable fixed tariff. This is sure to produce rapid growth of micro-renewables in yet another sign of the changing global energy markets. Over in the UK a community energy scheme, 100% funded by the community, has taken advantage of the availability of affordable wind power to bring economic benefits to the community and environmental benefits to everyone.

In general it seems people are starting to act locally in the fight against climate change, with small scale renewables, community projects, and energy efficiency. One interesting new product known as the Watson lets people monitor there household energy usage in real time, and commit to personally meet the Kyoto targets, government not fulfilling its duty, DIY climate mitigation.

Finally, a country which is keen to live up to its international obligations-and produce a healthy economic environment-Sweden has committed to wean itself off oil by 2020, a very ambitious target. If they are successful just think how they will benefit next time oil prices are high!

Climate Change Action

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