The City of Sydney launched its C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Program in May, with Mayor Clover Moore stating “Climate action is the City of Sydney’s top priority”, as reflected in the City’s 2030 Strategy and Climate Emergency declaration.
Ahead of the Global Climate Strike called for 20 September, the program’s 20 mentees are taking this opportunity to share their vision for the project that they will present at the global Women4Climate Conference in Sydney in March 2020, and their view on the global climate strike.
Paint the Town Green
My vision is to see every Australian have open access to renewable energies that bathe our country – the sun, wind, geothermal heat, ocean waves. Ensuring universal access to energy opens a door to a vast potential extension of human sociability.
Australia has the highest penetration rate of home solar energy. However, there are still two main barriers to mass solar conversion. First, the payback period of solar is still too high for businesses and Not-For-Profits (NFPs) to justify its uptake. Second, the split-tenancy incentives faced by Australia’s rental market. Addressing these barriers may very well be the final frontier of rooftop solar.
To ensure that everyone has access to solar, I am creating a marketplace connecting roof owners (who don't have the upfront capital) with consumers who want solar but don't have roof space. Initially the app will used to crowdfund small scale rooftop solar projects. Once the application reaches mass scale, it could be used to geolocate any renewable technology.
This digital application will have in build minute-by-minute analytics for investors to understand the performance of their ‘solar account’. Investments could be as little as $50 per share with very short payback period. The purpose is to give Millennials access to green investments that offer high returns which could help them save towards their first home faster – “from roof-lords to landlords”.
By connecting private parties who have upfront capital with those who have interest in adopting renewable energy, this will hopefully diminish the need for government subsidy. I am hoping this may be a cost-effective, long-term solution to address the current market failure in renewable energy adoption rate in Australia.
Rather than becoming a direct competitor with established renewable industry players, I am working closely with them to create a marketplace that will complement initiatives by NFPs, local government and private companies that are already addressing climate change.
My vision is to see Australia expand renewable tech start-ups from small scale metropolitan prototypes to large-scale urban transformation.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CITIES
Long-term projections have suggested that the population of Greater Sydney will grow from 4.7 million to 6.4 million by 2036. With “metropolitanisation” being a mega trend, the quality of life a cities offer is a fundamental aspect of its ability to prosper. Offering citizens a green, global and connected City forms the cornerstone of an attractive environment.
As recently announced in the NSW Budget Paper 3, the NSW Government is supporting renewable energy projects through various initiatives including $1.4 billion, as part of a five-year investment, for programs to help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. $12.5 million has also been allocated to co-fund on-demand clean energy projects through the government’s Emerging Energy Program.
I am so excited to be part of a vibrant community working towards helping Sydneysiders realise cleaner and more affordable green energy.
MY CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS CLIMATE CHANGE
The global climate change strike is a demonstration of our primal drive to recapture the biophilia connection. Preparing our children to think as extended ecological selves and have biosphere consciousness will be the critical test of our age. It may well be the determining factor in whether we will be able to create a new, sustainable relationship with the Earth in time to slow climate change and prevent our own extinction.
The good news is, we do not have to wait for permission from anyone to team up in our communities to realise a cleaner, more affordable and equitable energy future. I can’t wait to see Sydney recognise the increased reliability, cost effectiveness and co-benefits of green energy future.
“If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”
Application wireframe designed by Christine Luo