In the search for a more sustainable energy mix, solar, wind
and nuclear power are clearly dominating the discussion. But there’s another
source of renewable energy that has great potential: ocean waves.
“Unfortunately, no wave energy technology has managed to be
cost effective until now”, says Oceanographer Tom Denniss. “But we believe that
will soon change”.
Tom and his team at Australian energy technology company Wave Swell Energy (WSE) are about to prove
that wave energy has the potential to become a serious player in sustainable power
generation. WSE is about to construct and launch a 200 kW wave energy project
on King Island, with Hydro Tasmania integrating the electricity
from the unit into the local hybrid grid, alongside its existing wind, solar,
and diesel generation.
Producing energy through waves at a competitive price
Proving that wave energy can be captured in a cost-competitive
way has long been a challenge for the sector. WSE is aiming to demonstrate this
capability via the King Island project – and as a result of that to become the
first wave energy technology to enter the commercial phase.
Bustling streets, tons of creative energy and the promise of
new opportunities – large cities have always drawn people like magnets. And
while the world’s modern metropolises still lure with the promise of excitement
and infinite possibility, they also represent one of the biggest challenges for
According to projections by the United Nations, 68% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. While cities only take up 2% of the world’s surface, they consume 78% of the world’s energy and produce 60% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. It’s inevitable then that any serious attempts to reverse climate change will need to include a framework for sustainable cities.
Mews is an urban planner and the founder of the Urban Synergies Group. After having
studied urban planning and design in Berlin, he travelled the world to learn more
about the human condition at different stages of urban development.
Now based in Australia’s capital, Canberra, Gregor is working with local governments, non-government organisations, businesses and UN Habitat to create healthier, more connected and sustainable communities. In short, if you want to have a philosophical discussion about what the future of the city should look like, Gregor is your man!
“We’re at a
historical moment in time”, says Gregor about the urgency of the problem. “We
have three years to turn the trend in global warming around until we enter the adaptation phase.“
However, to tackle this problem, it would require more than just installing
solar panels on rooftops.
It’s in this context that Gregor identifies 3 fundamental shifts required in our
thinking that will ultimately lead to sustainable
1. Putting human needs at the heart of urban planning
“The issue with this ranking system is that it’s basically
designed for rich minorities – highly educated people with a high
socio-economic status who want to travel to and live in those places. But these
rankings tell us very little about what ordinary life looks like for the
majority”, says Gregor. “For example,
Sydney has often been ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world.
But I doubt that most people in Western Sydney would agree with this assessment.”