Top Ten Cleantech Highlights of Sydney, Australia

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Sydney is the largest and most populated city in all of Australia. It is also the capital of New South Wales. Sydney is known as a global center for the arts, culture, fashion, commerce, music, entertainment, tourism, and education. It was home to the 2000 Olympic summer games and the 2003 Rugby World Cup final match. While it is known for so much, many people also know this thriving metropolitan city as a center for clean technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainability. Here are just a few of the highlights of what Sydney has to offer the clean technology industry.

1 ) Sydney Energy Cooperative. As a not-for-profit environmental organization, Sydney Energy Cooperative looks to involve the community in all activities related to energy. The cooperative was created as public awareness regarding energy and environmental issues became the forefront of many discussions. However, with all the talk, there has been little action and the Sydney Energy Cooperative seeks to take those actions. It was established in 2007 by students studying photovoltaic and renewable energy engineering at the University of New South Wales. There are three main areas of activity – education, joint purchase of solar panels, and lighting installations.

2 ) BlueGreen Engineering. BlueGreen Engineering is well known company in Australia dealing with energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable design. Their mission is “To provide cost-effective innovative solutions which reduce energy consumption and cost.” BlueGreen Engineering has been involved in a number of products to assist in reducing energy consumption, including solar systems, lighting, and HVAC systems.

3 ) EcoSave. EcoSave was established in 2002 in Sydney and is one of the largest water and energy conservation companies in the country. Today, EcoSave works with a number of metropolitan and rural communities in Australia as well as New Zealand to provide water and energy saving solutions. For example, their efficient lighting solutions include lighting control systems, light fitting replacements, light fitting refurbishment, and voltage reduction units for fluorescent lighting. Water saving solutions include flow control for taps, water recycling, water efficient showers, cistern retro-fits, leak identification, and water and energy metering consolidation.

4 ) Energy Efficient Building Sydney. For homes in Sydney that are interested in becoming more energy efficient, Energy Efficient Building Sydney, is the best company to call. They provide everything from energy audits to eco-friendly products, energy saving products, heating and cooling, insulation, hot water services, landscaping, water harvesting, geothermal capabilities, and even information about how to get in contact with architects and designers that are able to build energy efficient homes.

5 ) First Electric Vehicle Charging Station in Sydney. In May of 2010, Australian-based company Chargepoint launched the first electric vehicle charging station in Sydney. This charging station is located in Derby Place, Glebe and is able to fully charge an electric vehicle battery in approximately three hours. With this being the first charging station, Chargepoint is now looking to create other stations in various other capital cities, including Perth and Melbourne. However, before these stations are created, the one in Sydney will be used as a “test subject” to see what the public response is like along with energy usage.

6 ) BP Australia. BP Australia is involved with the exploration and production of natural gas, oil, and liquefied natural gas, as well as the refining, transportation, and marketing of petroleum. However, BP Australia also has a long history of looking for measures that address current climate change, and therefore is always looking into the development of much cleaner fuels as well as low-carbon alternatives when it comes to power generation. For example, BP Australia has completed over 170 solar power systems for New South Wales schools and there are currently plans underway for another 75.

7 ) Easy Being Green. With so many Australians worried about the effects of climate change, Easy Being Green looks to help residents in Sydney attach the negative climate changes through a number of easy energy saving methods. Easy Being Green has been able to put a cap on over four million tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, which is roughly equivalent to removing around one million cars from the roads. Some of the solutions offered include solar photovoltaic, solar hot water, and heat pumps for all residential homes.

8 ) Sydney Water’s Pledge to Renewable Energy. Sydney Water recently created their own Renewable Energy Generation Program to assist in its pledge to become a carbon neutral company by the year 2020. The objective of this program is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 54,000 tons annually. Through this project, Sydney Water installed five biogas cogeneration facilities, along with three hydro-electric generators at wastewater treatment plants and pipelines throughout Sydney.

9 ) 2010 Multi-Million Dollar Smart Grid Project. EnergyAustralia in June of 2010 rolled out a $100 million trial of a smart grid project known as Smart Grid, Smart City across 50,000 homes in New South Wales, including Sydney. This is the first commercial-scale smart grid in all of Australia. Around 15,000 homes involved in the project will also have in-house displays and websites to allow them to track their utility use as well as their emissions levels.

10 ) Sydney Opera House Becomes More Energy Efficient. The Sydney Opera House, a multi-venue performance center that is easily one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of Australia, is looking to go green by installing a number of energy efficient measures. For example, the opera house replaced all the pumps of their air conditioning system with more efficient ones and changed the way in which seawater cooling is utilized in the air conditioning system to allow the equipment to work much more efficiently. Not only that, but the opera house is also starting to replace all their lighting with much more energy efficient lighting, including the utilization of LEDs.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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