Welcome to our final SnippETS for 2017. We hope all our readers have had a happy and successful year, and we wish you all the best for the Christmas/New Year season.

This week we start with recent news on renewables and storage, look at what’s happening with electric vehicles and technologies, and then look at why trees and forests are ever important.

One of the main drawbacks of renewable energy is the fact that it is not always available when and where it is needed. South Australia, with the help of Tesla, just flipped the switch on the largest battery in the world and changed the game for renewable energy…and they did it in less than 100 days![1]

One of the great things about solar PV is that it is highly suited to use in micro-grids. Some new and improved solar micro-grid and battery systems have proved very beneficial during the recent Caribbean Island hurricanes, saving the day for two of the islands, and now others are following suit.[2]

In light of the rapidly dropping cost of solar and battery technologies, and the popularity of wind energy in Europe, it should be of no surprise that coal use is in its death throes. With 54% of EU coal plants losing money, and an estimate that 97% will lose money by 2030, it looks like this fossil fuel is about to go the way of the dinosaurs![3]

Why move to electric vehicles? A recent study shows that total ownership costs for electric vehicles were about 10% lower than for petrol or diesel cars in 2015. Although the ownership costs for EV’s in this study included government subsidies, it is estimated that with the anticipated falling production costs, EV’s will be cheaper to own than gasoline vehicles, even without subsidies, by as early as 2020.[4]

And other electric vehicles? In 2016 China added 80,000 electric buses to their fleets. With growing concerns about rising air pollution, the domestic demand for clean vehicles led policymakers to encourage electric bus production. India is now looking to follow suit, but should they? Identifying and prioritizing a single sector can be a sharp strategy for green growth - a great lesson in industrial policy.[5]

By now, you may have had some experience with ride-sharing apps such as Uber, but did you realize that ride-sharing apps are only a small fraction of the new companies in the transport technology sector? In this article the author looks at all the new areas of innovation within the transport sector and shares some insights to how technology will change the way we move around in the future.[6]

The importance of biodiversity in forests will rise with increased water scarcity from climate changes. Wood has a great part to play when it comes to building houses, furniture and the like, but of greater importance is trees’ ability to store carbon and, in effect, combat climate change. Forest biodiversity will help.[7]

And staying with trees, in an urban environment they are a great investment. They can help manage runoff during rainstorms, help clean and cool the air, and reduce harmful air pollutants and air temperatures on city streets. They lend beauty to our communities and increase property values. And time spent in natural environments has demonstrated mental health benefits. Trees are good![8]

A ‘local’ story to finish; volunteers at Trash Place in Porirua have recycled 480 bikes in their workshops first year. A good reminder that someone’s trash may be another’s treasure. In fact the number of bikes to fix has outstripped the capacity of the volunteers, so the trust is keen to bring more people on board.[9]

Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and we 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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