U.S. and Australia present a great opportunity for Cleantech collaboration. Australia has a solid history of fruitful business relationships with the U.S., has been a stable ally in a changing geographical region, shares a contemporary culture, and has a strong commitment to address climate change impact. In fact, America is the biggest foreign investor in Australia.
At the G'Day USA week, the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Jeffery Bleich, sent a message to the energy industry of collaboration, mutual investment, knowledge sharing, and partnerships to benefit both countries. Australia can be a reliable launching pad for American business to address Asian markets, can provide distribution channels, and help establish thriving business environment.
G'Day USA is organized by the Australian Government, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This program is designed to showcase Australian accomplishments and direction in key societal areas, including energy, water management, and clean technology. G'Day USA is an annual event that provides an opportunity to business, government, and academia leaders from both countries to connect and share knowledge, direction, and learnings. The energy dialogue on January 16 was presented in collaboration with the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC) at Stanford University.
The conversation about energy efficiency included discussions about the governmmet’s role in propelling energy efficiency adoption, carbon pricing impact on users, consumption and behavior, and sharing of knowledge of successful initiatives in Australia. The messages were consistent with what we already know: To Use energy more wisely, energy efficiency and consumption need to take a high priority and encompass regulation, incubation and promotion of technology innovations, green buildings (both commercial and residential), energy efficiency standards and labeling, incentives to entrepreneurs as well as buildings or home owners, and more.
Jim Sweeney, Director of PEEC talked about the importance of end use efficiency. Reduced consumption has economic compensation, provides more energy-security, and also has environmental benefits. He mentioned the importance of energy reliability and security, transport considerations (of people and goods), cost savings in reducing energy usage, and more. He said that although research over the past years has clearly demonstrated, time and again, that there are many actions we can take to save money by handling the 'low hanging fruit' when doing simple and inexpensive changes. Further more, many actions do not require any investment, but only behavior change. For example: turning off all computers in the office at the end of the workday, lowering the air-conditioning thermostat by 1-2 degrees, etc.
Small businesses face several challenges in greening their operations and supply-chains, in funding technologies and in business-process changes that are required to reduce their carbon footprint, in securing loans, and more. However, there are many steps that can be taken to reduce a business operational costs (like electricity) as part of the workforce behavior change models. Sweeney said, “It is a matter of choice that businesses, organizations and people need to make.” So why isn't our society make more progress to reduce energy use?
In moving toward energy use reduction, approaches may also include carbon pricing, community initiatives to handle energy generation (through renewables, like rooftop solar systems), delivery/distribution of electricity, local demand-generation management, etc.
How does energy efficiency, management, and renewables affect green jobs?
Officials at the event said that carbon pricing in Australia and the progress the country made in the energy and renewables industries have created jobs (reported by the Clean Energy Office, Australia).
2013 G’Day USA – Australia Week
For the past 10 years, G’DAY USA has showcased Australian business capabilities in the USA. G’DAY USA has brought together industry leaders and key influencers in government, business, tourism, academia and the arts to successfully cultivate and enhance the long term and deep Australia– United States relationship.
Website: : http://www.australia-week.com/
Check for events across California, New York, Chicago, Houston, and Washington D.C.: http://www.australia-week.com/events.html?date=2013-01-01