Dr Bjorn Sturmberg on being optimistic and engaged about our energy future
Bjorn is a Research Leader in the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at Australia National University where he is engaged in all sorts of cool projects
Dr Bjorn Sturmberg, from Australia National University, is engaged in all sorts of cool projects from grid integration of distributed energy resources and electric vehicles to social acceptance of new energy technology.
He's recently released a children's book to explain the complexities and emotions of our collective journey to a clean energy future in an engaging and entertaining way.
This unique story packs the complexities and emotions of the journey to clean energy into an engaging, entertaining book that can be understood by children, their families and educators.
It provides a positive resolution to the climate wars – being respectful to the past while clear eyed about a brighter future.
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Cool Australia resources for classes and parents based around climate change and clean energy.
In this episode we discuss:
Working on the human side of the energy transition.
There are no hard tech questions that we’re missing, it’s more about the humans in the systems.
All the human-to-human interactions and the complex society we live in a tech is only a tool for that.
The challenge is less about the economics but how you share that value between owner, property manager and tenant.
Three way relationship of mistrust with tenancies.
Same kind of mistrust in the energy system.
Vested interests, gaming and intentions that add noise or barriers to a clear line of progress to a cleaner fairer electricity system.
Making electricity systems a bit more local, micro grids. A bit more autonomous.
A grid to connect those local systems to make them more efficient when there is sun or wind in one area but not the other.
The biggest inefficiencies are when you are burning a fuel and turning it into something else.
Driving an internal combustion car.
Two tensions between piping electricity across the country and the more household or community independent supply.
It shouldn’t be thought of as a dichotomy.
Connecting how you use energy to how it’s generated. It is inevitable that we will end up with 100% renewably powered energy system eventually.
Preparing people for the fact that we’ll be 80% renewables by 2030.
We want more people to shift electric loads to the day rather than at night.
In the old days we used to have to use more electricity at night. Base load is not a complement, it’s not a positive, it’s just the load that we get power stations down to when demand is at it's lowest.
Becoming more flexible with how we use our energy system.
Avoiding the bad-faith arguments.
Not as complex or scary as a proposition as may be portrayed in the media.
Its pretty straightforward we just need to be a bit more flexible and hesitant to enact change.
The resistance of changing how an industry works.
How electric cars are way better than petrol cars.
Electric bikes need to be re-framed as they are a forgotten opportunity.
Electric stovetops, epic.
Hope for the future.
Our kids could well live in the year 2100 so this is no longer a timeframe that is two or three steps removed. We know the people who will live then.
It will either be extremely war-torn and a terrible future or we have our shit together and we’ve adapted to that world.
The optimistic outcome will still require our very active participation.
Keeping temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celcius by 2100.
The things we should be thinking about and doing as parents right now.
Being optimistic, being positive but being engaged. Family networks, political networks.
Being mindful of how you act. How you travel around.
The happy future is based on human well-being or happiness.
No-one gains happiness by burning coal.
There are key structural systems challenges that we have to overcome.
Many studies show that cycling is the happiest form of transport.
It feels much better having connected communities.
The magic of bike paths.
The small cost of bike-paths relative to the positive and co-benefits to society.
The antidote to econo-babble.
How switched on kids are.
The powerful thing about kids is that they are such powerful lobbyists.
Hopefully politicians’ kids will get their parents to read this book to them.
Politicians will read it to the kids and then the kids will explain it to their parents.