Geoff Bennett - Editor

Welcome to another two weekly review of energy and environmental events and developments from both here in New Zealand and around the world. As always, we hope you find our collection of stories to be of interest in what continues to be a rapidly evolving area.

This week we open on a positive note with the news that young people from all over the globe came together in Bandung, Indonesia to declare that a green economy is crucial to the Earth’s future. The 1,200 delegates from 100 countries aged 10-24 captured the sense of urgency they feel for the future. As 14-year old Indonesian Adeline Suwana said “As children, we can plant trees, clean rivers and beaches, but we cannot stop industries from polluting our rivers, we cannot force them to adopt a green economy. We want policies and laws that will make industries sustainable” The conference produced what is referred to as the Bandung Declaration, which states “The trends and science tell us that we cannot wait another generation before we act… the Green Economy is our only future”. Now we need our elected politicians to make the hard decisions, or stand aside and let someone who is prepared to act, the opportunity to do so.

That these youngsters are organising themselves is probably just as well as we now have the occurrence of a Ozone Hole over the Arctic as well as the Antarctic. Caused by, yes global warming, which trapped more heat at lower altitudes, leading to a long cold period in the Stratosphere. Apparently the colder temperatures created ozone depleting chlorine gas. The Arctic hole was about the same size as the land area of Mexico and allowed high levels of harmful UV to strike Canada, Russia and Europe in spring this year.

Our next set of articles looks at the growing reliance of agriculture on pesticides and how it is all affecting us. Some pretty nasty stuff. In the USA the roundup weed killer is now turning up in the rain and air, and impacting on human health. And weeds have been gaining resistance to Roundup, to the point that 11 weed species now have glyphostate resistance in 26 US States. Farmers are now having to revert to the old way of managing weeds like cutting them out by hand. But as the farmer being interviewed put it “We have little option as this can change the whole farming industry if we can’t get a handle on it”.

Our next article looks at the promotion of green leases by the Natural Resource Defence Council and how they intend to work with tenants and landlords to incorporate efficiency measures in retrofits or build outs as leases come up for renewal, or new agreements are signed. It’s that timeless cliché, creating a win-win situation, in this case where both landlord and tenant benefit.

Our next article examines the concept of the zero-touch building energy audit. According to FirstFuel, the company behind the virtual audit, all they need is the address of the building and a year’s hourly electricity consumption. If it works as claimed, then this is likely to totally transform the energy audit market.

Our next three articles examine how the smart grid is likely to revolutionise cities. Now when we discuss smart meters, we are not referring to the ones that are being installed in New Zealand. NZ smart meters are really rather dumb.

This article however expands on how the smart, smart meter will be able to integrate demand measures, renewable generation, electric vehicle charging, etc. And as Alabama Power found following a series of storms and tornadoes, they can also assist with disaster recovery. However as our last article discusses, they might be almost too effective, by reacting to price changes in a concerted fashion, with sufficient magnitude to cause the grid to crash. The MIT report discusses how smart meters and automated switching of appliances will need to be carefully managed so that the grid can continue to be robust, whilst ensuring maximum efficiencies can continue to be extracted.

Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and look forward to catching up with you again. If you have any items of interest you would like to submit, then please feel free to forward them.

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