WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United Kingdom comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world’s major economies, followed closely by Germany, Italy, and Japan, according to the first-ever International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published today by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report finds that in the last decade the U.S. has made “limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level,” putting it in 9th place out of 12 economies around the globe.
Charges 70 per cent higher than the American average
A figure that will grow to 160 per cent in two years
Exposes myth that Australian electricity is relatively cheap
AUSTRALIANS pay 130 per cent more for electricity than Canadians, according to new research – a power premium to rise to 250 per cent once the carbon tax and locked-in price increases take effect.
The research, which will be made public today, claims household charges are already 70 per cent higher than the American average, a figure that will grow to 160 per cent in two years. Japanese, British, French, Irish and New Zealanders all pay less than we do.
The research forms the basis of a report to the Energy Users Association of Australia – which represents 100 big power users including BHP, RailCorp, Coles, the Commonwealth Bank and Brisbane City Council – and argues the way power prices are set must be urgently reformed.
The EUAA will also use the research to claim it exposes as a myth that Australian electricity is relatively cheap.
Energy Minister Martin Ferguson recently said Australians pay less than the OECD average, relying on a document called Energy In Australia 2012, which his department’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) published three weeks ago. The document uses electricity prices from 2009-10.
“That data is old,” EUAA executive director Roman Domanski told The Daily Telegraph last night. In 2010-11 alone the national price rose by 16 per cent; the NSW jump was 23 per cent. The numbers used to compile the document Mr Ferguson relied on put the NSW average at 18.55c/kWh. But in the real world, households are paying regulated rates as high as 28c/kWh.
The average New South Wales household’s annual cost for electricity would fall from $1700 to less than $700 if our prices were the same as in Canada.
Mr Domanski said: “Add in the carbon tax from July, further network price increases and renewable energy subsidies and inevitably our prices are pushed to the point where they are challenging Denmark and Germany as the most expensive in the world.” The report to the EUAA, produced by Carbon Market Economics, found Australian power prices had risen about 40 per cent since 2007 and would rise by another 30 per cent over the next two years.
It found that, even using 2007 currency exchange rates, Australian households still paid more than those in Japan, US, Canada and the average of the EU. Carbon Market Economics comparison of prices in 92 jurisdictions – including more than 35 countries, American states and all Australian states and territories – found NSW ranked fourth behind Denmark, Germany and South Australia. Victoria was fifth and Western Australia was sixth. The ACT was 21st.
In explaining why BREE used figures dating back to 2009, energy manager Allison Ball said Australian Energy Market Commission data wasn’t available until late 2011 and global 2011 statistics from the International Energy Agency were still not available.
However, The Telegraph understands Carbon Market Economics used 2011 IEA figures published before Mr Ferguson claimed Australian prices were below the OECD average.
Melrose Park mother-of-two Leanne Imbro said her family’s last bill had jumped to about $700. She said she has been reassessing her children’s extra-curricular activities.
The Indian state of Gujarat has built the world’s largest solar photovoltaic power plant, a field of solar panels the size of Lower Manhattan. After only 14 months of preparation, they’ve just switched it on, adding 600 megawatts of power to the grid. That’s enough to power a medium-sized city’s worth of homes. Thing is HUGE.
The 5,000-acre solar park should help India meet its ambitious plans for moving to sustainable energy. The country aims to be at 15 percent renewables by 2020 — right now it’s only at 6 percent. Projects like the Gujarat plant will help by taking advantage of India’s intense sunshine.
However, India’s already in danger of being pushed out of the record-holding spot for world’s biggest power plant. Tunisia is working on a 2,000-MW plant, to open by 2016. The Gujarat solar field is already the size of some towns, so it’s not clear how much bigger plants can get — at least in non-desert countries — before they start having to build them over homes, fields, and household pets.
Thank to http://grist.org/list/india-flips-the-switch-on-worlds-largest-solar-power-plant/
Living in Nevada, the sun is an almost constant companion. This gives Nevadans a unique opportunity to use solar radiation powers for good. In April, a tour of southern Nevada homes shed some light on the subject of solar powered homes. Hosted by the American Solar Energy Society, this Nevada branch of the National Solar Tour explored homes that used both passive and active solar power, thermal hot water systems, and other environmentally features. However, unless you’re a green technologies expert, or took the tour, you may not know the difference between passive and active solar, or how thermal hot water is different than average. Let me help you understand!
Active solar technology is the one that most people may be familiar with. It involves having a solar panel that collects the sun’s energy and converts it into electricity. These have a battery where energy is stored, so electricity can still be used at night, and, to a certain extent, on cloudy days. Solar panels are an excellent way to make electricity, especially in remote areas. While they are moderately costly to set up, and do require some maintenance, they provide reliable and free electricity, even in climates far less sunny than Nevada’s.
Passive solar technologies are far older than active ones, and involve utilising the natural heat and light the sun creates, without converting it in any other way. Have you ever noticed that after a long, hot day, south-facing rocks, pavement or brick and adobe buildings will radiate warmth? They have spent the day passively collecting solar energy, and are releasing it. Some materials are better at absorbing and storing that heat energy than others. For example, wood insulates, meaning it will block temperatures, whereas stone will absorb and release temperatures. Homes that are built to take advantage of passive solar are often constructed of brick, adobe or concrete. Cob is another passive-solar-friendly and ancient building material that is going through a revival of sorts. It is made of sand, clay and straw, similar ingredients as adobe, but adobe is baked into bricks and stacked, whereas cob structures are free-formed while the material is wet. Passive solar homes usually have a lot of windows lining their south walls, and less so their east and west walls, with little to no windows on the colder north sides. These windows do two things. First, they provide natural light inside the home, one aspect of passive solar. Second, they allow heat to come into the home. If the home has a stone tile floor and even walls, that tile will absorb the heat, releasing it later when the outside temperature drops.
Passive solar homes can be designed to be cool in summer while using the sun to warm them in winter. For example, if shutters are closed during summer months, the home will remain much cooler. Also, the height and angle of overhang can be considered to maximise the windows exposure to low winter sun, but minimise exposure to the high summer sun. Alternatively, I saw an interesting example of someone planting deciduous trees on the south side of their home. In the winter, the trees had no leaves and so let in a lot of light and heat. In the summer, their thick greenery provided shade that kept the house cool.
So that is the major difference between active and passive solar technologies. Since passive solar is essentially free, it would be wise for any architect or home designer to take it into consideration when building new homes. Well designed passive solar homes can greatly reduce their electrical energy needs. And while active solar is brilliant technology, it still takes many resources to create. Plus, it may be superfluous in an area with an existing electrical source.
As for thermal water heating, it too is a very simple concept. Home made thermal water heaters can be as simple as an outdoor water tank painted black, but that’s a little crude for most tastes. However, there are a variety of styles out there. Some have panels that are metal painted black and enclosed with glass, with copper pipes filled with water running through them. This water will heat, and is then pushed by gravity into an insulated storage tank. Some solar water heaters use a similar set-up but with tubes filled with anti-freeze that are then hooked up to a heat transfer loop, where water in a storage tank is heated. Whatever system you use, thermal water heating is surprisingly affective.
There are a lot of ways to take advantage of the sun and use less electricity. Check out next year’s National Solar Tour to see them for yourself.
Article presented by www.gewa.com.au – Green Energy WA
Solar Parc, Coming Soon…
In May, the city of Bordeaux will have the largest solar energy park in France located in the urban areas. With its 61,500 solar panels and its 20 hectares of surface, the central Bordeaux-Lac saves 1,700 tons of CO2 emissions.
This park is installed in the parking lot of the Exhibition of the city of Bordeaux. It thus covers 7,000 parking spaces. In general, there are 78,500 m2 of installed panels. This project, which lasted 10 months will cost a whopping € 55 million, all financed by EDF EN.
The solar panels will produce 13 000 MWh per year which is an average power generation for 5000 homes. Ultimately, the goal of the city of Bordeaux is to use 23
American students were able to make a car that can go for 322 km with only 3.78 liters. This successful performance is the result of installing solar panels on the hood of the vehicle. The “Lost Solar Racing” won the “Shell Eco-marathon” in Houston over the weekend.
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Recharge your phone or mp3 player with solar energy! Awaken your green gut with this device that does not lack originality and that wouldn’t wither if you don’t have a green thumb!
The Sunflower, which is well known for its ability to capture sun’s rays regardless of their direction, has become a high-tech object, more precisely, a USB charger. I present to you your new green best friend: the XD Design Solar Sunflower! This small flower pot decorated with a sunflower in white plastic can charge any object with possessing USB or mini USB ports through photovoltaic solar energy. On your desktop, bedside table or conservatory, this little ecological gadget that weighs 0.39 kg and heights 23 cm can be literally placed anywhere! Producing up to 5 volts with rechargeable lithium 2500 mAh battery (2500 milliamp/hour), it will light if your battery is low or needs charging.
Basma Jalloul – Green Energy International Correspondent – 24/03/2012
In Germany, many schools have solar panels to cover part of their energy costs. However, their operation and use are rarely integrated into the curriculum. The Federal Ministry of the Environment (BMU) has decided to develop this educational potential by offering “solar support packs” which include an array of real-time display of energy produced by the panels as well as a recording device that transmits data to the computer network of the school, thereby making them accessible to students. These technical installations and other measuring devices installed by the German Society for Solar Energy (DGS eV), are accompanied by educational materials designed by experts from the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (UfU eV) of Berlin.
The Minister pointed in his speech that “the turning point energy is a community and a generational prject: with programs like this, it is possible to wake up the interest and the enthusiasm for the potential of renewable energy” . With these facilities, students can indeed receive more concretely the energy from the sun.
Already 600 schools and training institutions in Germany have been equipped with boards that integrate science courses to the data received. At the end of the project, one tenth of schools with solar panels should be provided with the complete package.
The project is part of the “Climate protection in schools and training institutions” action program and is funded by the National Initiative for Climate Protection.
Basma Jalloul – Green Energy International Correspondent – 24/03/2012