August 25, 2007

Cave dwellers of Oz

Cave at White Cliffs
Visitors at underground Motel

The tiny outback town of White Cliffs in far north-west New South Wales can now claim a place in Australia’s engineering history, alongside the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Snowy Hydro scheme.

The opal mining town, where most of the 200 residents live in underground homes, was the first in Australia to be powered entirely by solar energy, and is still a fully off-grid community.

The solar plant is now closed but it has earned a national award that will see it preserved as a piece of alternative energy heritage.

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People

Fight for local energy

K.R. Sridhar and Arnold Schwarzenegger
KR sells off-grid to Arnie

In a feature on companies that will disrupt existing businesses, Business 2.0 cites power company Bloom Energy

THE DISRUPTION: Energy generators in homes and businesses

THE DISRUPTED: Electric utilities

Making electricity in central power plants is so 20th century,says the report. K.R. Sridhar has a better idea: Create energy on the spot, right where it’s consumed. His startup, Bloom Energy (formerly known as Ion America), is developing a fuel cell that could kick-start the distributed-energy industry.

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Arson campaign torches eco-homes

A third eco-home in central Somerset went up in flames this week, following an arson attack at a prototype round house in Moorlinch and a fire that destroyed Glastonbury town councillor Caroline Barry’s well-known straw bale home at Butleigh in January.

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