Welcome to our 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 articles to be of interest in what continues to be a rapidly evolving area.

This week in SnippETS we start by looking at things we can do ourselves to get things moving towards the achievement of the SDGs, then focus on some new technologies in the private sector, some new farming ideas, and to finish, some ideas on the many factors affecting EV sales.

Individuals living more sustainably is going to make the biggest difference in achieving the SDGs and limiting climate change. That does not just mean buying an electric car, and hoping the government incentivises more wind and solar farms… those are minor in the relative importance of sustainable options we all have. Many of the others discussed here are ones we can achieve as individuals, and they will all add up to make a real difference[1].

New technologies are becoming more evident in the private sector. In the industrial context, it is not always the case that renewable energy is the pathway to reducing carbon emissions. Take for example aluminium smelting, where, in NZ, the electricity comes from renewable hydro power. The smelting process releases large quantities of CO2 as the carbon rich anodes are destroyed... that was, until a new process that removes carbon from the equation was developed.[2]

If anyone has still has doubts about the viability of the future of battery storage and its place in the grid, Tesla’s 100MW battery in South Australia is making a good case. After four months, the battery, which is a mere 2% of total capacity, is bringing in 55% of revenues for the region, and lowering the market price by 90%. This certainly sounds like a private sector success story![3]

Several greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction scenarios rely heavily on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies that have not been developed yet. In fact, the first viable option was only demonstrated last year in Iceland. Luckily, here are a few initiatives in the private sector that are not only capturing carbon, but also creating marketable products from the sequestered carbon.[4]

Organic farming goes mainstream, with organic farming practices being adopted right across the industry, and this includes large scale operations. Less harmful pesticides and traditional farming practices having positive impacts on, in this case Canadian, farming. It certainly appears that modern large scale farming can adapt and learn from organic farming practices.[5]

Landcorp is improving its environmental credentials and looking to the future. Ongoing degradation of soil, water, and biodiversity continues to creep along in a manner that is not terribly noticeable on a day-to-day basis, but which is steadily destroying our native flora and fauna. Landcorp is looking to reverse this trend with a different approach to farming.[6]

We next take a look at a new use of disused air raid shelters under London, where the 65,000 square feet of old shelters are now being used to produce various herbs, pea shoots, rocket and fennel for local sale and consumption, all pesticide free. LED lighting along with controlled growing conditions ensures produce is fresh, tasty and right on the markets door step![7]

Finally, in this two-part article, the author looks at 25 factors that will (or could) impact sales of Electric Vehicles (EVs). With 20% of our national GHG emissions coming from transport, a rapid uptake of low emission vehicles such as EVs is essential for us to meet our emissions target under the Paris Agreement. [8]

People are becoming increasingly interested in EVs due to constant cycle of Telsa news stories, but getting more people to actually trade their petrol or diesel vehicles for an EV is another story completely. There are potentially dozens of factors that could either speed up or delay sales growth of EVs. Many of these factors are obvious and fundamental to EV adoption, whereas something like subscription models might have only a very minor effect.[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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