A regular round-up of energy-efficiency projects and innovations from Australia and around the world.

Mission Innovation

Announced by world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 2) in Paris, Mission Innovation aims to accelerate global innovation to make clean energy widely available. Twenty countries, including Australia, are committing to double their clean-energy R&D investment over five years.


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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s speech at COP 2

Australia’s first off-grid suburb?

Studies are being undertaken to determine if the new suburb of Huntlee, NSW, can be powered entirely by renewable energy. Co-founded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the study will focus on technologies such as solar battery storage. Huntlee project director Stephen Thompson said ‘We’re excited by the possibility of developing Australia’s first town-scale greenfield microgrid and all of the advantages that level of innovation would bring to our residents and commercial operators.’

Source: ARENA

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Global green building trends and projections

A new report shows green building continues to double every three years, with strongest acceleration in emerging economies. Clients and tenants are increasingly demanding sustainability, for both energy efficiency and occupant benefit. The World Green Building Trends 2016 study surveyed 1,000 building professionals from 69 countries. Full results from are expected in early 2016.

Source: PR Newswire

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Energy efficiency can lower cost of decarbonisation by $250b

The world’s largest and fastest-growing economies can help limit global warming to 2° C for significantly lower costs by prioritizing energy efficiency in the transport, buildings, and industrial sectors. How Energy Efficiency Cuts Costs for a 2 Degree Future analyses how energy-efficiency policies in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Mexico, and the US can reduce the cost of economy-wide decarbonisation by up to $250b per year.

Source: ClimateWorks (US)

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The power of choice for all energy users

The Australian Energy Market Commission has made new rules to remove the networks’ effective metering monopoly and give consumers more opportunities to access a wider range of energy services.

‘Advances in technology have introduced new ways to better manage our electricity to reduce demand and costs, but the 1950s-style meters installed in most Australian homes and businesses are preventing consumers from accessing 21st century services,’ AEMC Chairman John Pierce said.

Source: AEMC

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NASA’s good use of space

A building in California gives new meaning to the idea of designing for space. Among other things, its electricity comes from a kind of generator used in spacecraft. The building, Sustainability Base, is at NASA's Ames Research Center. Findings made from the building will help achieve the 2030 goal of reducing fossil-fuel generated energy to zero.

Source: all tech considered

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Solar batteries to boost power at mining site

The first of 34,080 solar panels has been installed at the DeGrussa Copper-Gold Mine in central Western Australia. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing just over half of the funding for the $40 million project. 10.6 MW of solar PV with storage will integrate with an existing 19 MW diesel-fired power station.

Source: ARENA

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Energy Efficiency Conference: revolution on the way

New business models, platforms and communities are revolutionising the global energy sector, the National Energy Efficiency Conference heard recently. Uber-style utilities, hybrid ownership and smart grid solutions were some of the emerging business models under discussion. Software will continue to be a game-changer.

Source: Fifth Estate

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Sahara desert, hotbed of power for a million people

A massive Moroccan solar plant will harness the relentless desert sun to melt salt, which will hold its heat to power a steam turbine in the evenings. The plant features 35 soccer fields worth of parabolic mirrors which will track the sun throughout the day. The first phase will generate for three hours after dark, while the last stage will supply power for 20 hours per day.

Source: BBC

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New substance for carbon capture

Scientists in Ireland have invented a porous liquid with the potential for a range of industrial applications including carbon capture and other chemical processes. The liquid can dissolve unusually large amounts of gas, by absorbing into its ‘pores’.


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Explaining the energy sweet-spot to the C-suite

As rigorous data analytics and energy intelligence software expand the industry, facility management (FM) staff have a more powerful toolkit with which to communicate their worth. A new study by the International Facility Management Association combined survey results from various sources that questioned the C-suite about FM and operations. Findings reveal some room for improvement.

Source: energysmart

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Sustainability cleans up at national architecture awards

Sustainability distinguished winning projects across all categories at the National Architecture Awards. Many of the major winning projects were showcases in sustainable design, such as JPW’s 6 Star Green Star 50 Martin Place, which won the Harry Seidler Award for commercial architecture.

Source: The Fifth Estate

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Low-cost, non-lithium battery prototype

French researchers have developed batteries which use sodium ions. Sodium is far more abundant and less costly than lithium. The batteries have displayed performance levels comparable to their lithium counterparts, and the technology is already attracting industrial interest. It could be used to store renewable energies in the future.


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Talking energy efficiency with SMEs

The Behavior Energy and Climate Change conference in the US has become well known in the industry for bringing together perspectives on energy efficiency activities. EnerNOC gives advice on how to engage small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) on the matter of reducing their energy use.

Source: energysmart

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Cycling worldwide could save cities AUD$33 trillion

A new report finds that if all cities worldwide encourage a massive uptake in cycling, society could save AUD$33 trillion between now and 2050. This would abate emissions from urban passenger transport by nearly 11 per cent. The study, by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in California, finds that one-third of trips in the US are under 5 km, and therefore easily ‘cyclable’ for many people.

Source: The Fifth Estate

Cycling worldwide could save cities AUD$33 trillion