Australia is no stranger to tight water supplies, and fortunately that means smart water conservation strategies are being devised all the time. Australia is leading the way in everything from strategies to combat desertification to using renewable energy for desalination plants, and now it is putting that knowledge to work on six new infrastructure projects that can save 1.3 billion gallons of water.
There’s some interesting new data out on recent shifts in electricity demand and consumption, courtesy of the DOE/EIA.
In 2008, total U.S. power generation was 4.1 million GWh. In 2009, that fell by 4 percent, to 3.9 million. That’s a 4 percent reduction — clearly the result of the economic slowdown. Nothing surprising there.
What’s interesting, though, is how generation shifted by fuel type. Over the same year, coal-fired power generation fell by 11 percent, from almost 2 million GWh to just under 1.8 million.
Just how important is turning off computers at the end of the day in an office building? Very, if a company wants to save big bucks on electricity bills. According to UC San Diego researchers, 50-80% of a modern building’s electricity use goes to IT equipment, particularly desktop computers. A report last year showed that not shutting down PCs equated to $2.8 billion in wasted electricity. Still, many offices don’t encourage their employees to hit shut-down on their PCs for a variety of reasons, including updating software while everyone is out or being able to keep the computer attached to the network so information on the machine can be accessed at any time. However, Microsoft’s new Sleep Proxy system claims it can help cut energy consumption by 60-80%, without getting in the way of office systems.
At a presentation at the Oxford Energy Futures conference on June 11th, Andy Duff, non-executive chair of RWE npower, made some controversial assertions about the future of electricity in the UK. He focused on three propositions.
a)????? The UK cannot meet its carbon targets without new nuclear
b)????? Electricity demand will grow at 1% less than GDP growth
c)?????? The UK will not have enough electricity capacity by the latter part of this decade unless UK society accepts a doubling of wholesale electricity prices, which is the minimum required to free the capital investment required to 1) meet demand and 2) decarbonise sufficiently fast.
In summary, we need nuclear and we all need to accept a substantial rise in electricity prices to pay for it.
Chinese consumers are becoming as cynical as those in the West about the way companies communicate about their social and environmental performance, according to the latest wave of GlobeScan’s annual global tracking research on public views of corporate social responsibility.\n\nThe study, which interviewed over 30,000 people across 34 countries, finds that while in 2005 more than 80 per cent of Chinese consumers felt that companies communicated ‘honestly and truthfully’ about their social and environmental performance, this has now fallen sharply, with only 40 per cent feeling this way in this year’s study.
Today, the chief executives of the five big oil companies ? including BP?s Tony Hayward ? are going to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. According to an e-mail released by that Committee yesterday, a BP drilling engineer warned that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was a ?nightmare well? that had caused the company problems in the past. The e-mail came just six days before the well exploded: