The climate mitigation gap and the role of voluntary action

About 10 years ago I was involved in a council project providing information on energy efficiency for the local community. I remember commenting to my collaborators that a lifetime of changing light globes is not going to make up for our recent overseas trips. Local action was all about the little things - light globes, …

A few thoughts on the AS/NZS 5139 battery standard

The controversy around the draft AS/NZS 5139:2017 for the safe installation of battery systems highlights two competing interest groups. The first is the residential-based activist community that support ‘democratised energy’, ‘distributed energy’, and home-based solar with charging. This group also includes the supply and marketing firms and websites that sell into, market, and profit from …

Japan as a template for how societies might reconfigure with economic stagnation and declining net-energy

Japan has enormous debt, falling population, and faces a demographic ‘time bomb’. But my current visit to Japan reveals a vibrant, friendly, and civilised society. So how to make sense of these observations? My sense is that Japan may become a model for societies adjusting to the new reality of stagnant economic growth. Japan certainly …

The rigour of the Jacobson et al. RE plan

Completely decarbonising energy systems is a difficult and complex problem. Wind and solar have the benefit of modularity, falling costs, and scalability. They are contributing to lowering the emission intensity of legacy electricity systems. But at high penetration, intermittency will be a major challenge. Although there are potentially many long-term low-carbon options, the only other …