As noted previously I have been a renewable energy fan for most of my life. As part of that interest I joined the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) in the early 1980s when I first installed a ‘stand-alone’ wind powered system at my home. I have remained a member (with a few missing years in the late eighties and/or the early nineties when I was broke) since then. As I was living in a remote location the most important aspect of the ATA then and now, was their quarterly journal/magazine ReNew (originally called Soft Technology).
For approaching 40 years this journal has been both my main resource and inspiration. With wide ranging topics on all aspects of renewable energy, energy efficiency and stories of what others are doing across Australia. ReNew has regular columns on letters, new products, recent news and occasional book reviews. My favourite column is by well-known commentator Alan Pears who in each issue offers sage advice on a multitude of related topics from energy efficiency to climate change. If only the pollies would listen.
The current issue (No.142) has a solar panel price guide, some DIY advice for renters including constructing cheap and easy curtain pelmets, using the sun for heating and improving grid stability with the use of renewables. There is also an article on achieving 100% renewables by 2030, a subject I hope to write a separate blog on in the near future. Also of great assistance was the recent issue on batteries (No.141) which is guiding me in a major, near future, purchase.
The renewable energy revolution has been a long time coming. When building my house in 1980 I opted for a wind generator system as the price of solar panels was then prohibitive. My first solar panels (2 X 30w) installed in 1986 were still very pricey. At this time I naively believed that in 10 years solar panels would be so cheap I could cover the roof with them. In this case I was a little premature (by 30 years) but that moment has now arrived.
Of recent years I have discovered that a close friend and a contributor to ReNew John Hermans of Clifton Creek is also a long term member of the ATA. John has been a strong advocate of renewable energy long before the need for replacing our fossil fuel energy and transport became obvious with the threat of climate change. It should be remembered that renewable energy is not the complete global warming solution as after we have stopped burning fossil fuels we still need to draw down the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere to suitable levels. But it is a good start. So is ATA membership and a subscription to ReNew.