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The first Australian utility to embrace era of “base-cost renewables”

ReNew Economy, 7 December 2017
West Australia’s regional utility Horizon Power has become the first major Australian utility to embrace the concept of “base-cost renewables”, recognising that the plunging cost of solar and wind is set to turn traditional theories of energy supply on their head. Horizon boss Frank Tudor has outlined a vision that he says will be an R&D “sandbox” for bigger and more centralised utilities across the country – and the world. And it’s about shifting to a future of “distributed energy”, built around low-cost renewables and enabling technologies like storage and smart controls to fill the gaps.

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Five ways that cities can slash carbon pollution right now

ReNew Economy, 7 December 2017
It’s been a banner year for cities in the fight against climate change. This week, more than 50 mayors gathered in Chicago this week for North American Climate Summit. Each signed a charter calling on mayors to make specific plans to cut carbon pollution in line with national commitments under the Paris Agreement. Over the last year, hundreds of U.S. cities have pledged to fulfill the terms of landmark accord. As of last week, 50 have vowed to generate 100% of their power from renewables. Plans and pledges are one thing. Action is something entirely different. While it remains unclear how cities might quickly and cheaply achieve these goals, a new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, a clean-energy think tank, lists 22 policies that could help get the job done.

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Riding in cars with dogs: millions of trips a week tell us transport policy needs to change

The Conversation, 11 December 2017
Dog owners depend very heavily on their cars to transport and care for their pets. Our recently published study estimates that dog owners make about 2.4 million dog-related trips a week in Sydney. We also found pet owners overwhelmingly want to be able to travel on public transport with their pets. So why are they still excluded?
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The $4 billion bet on Metronet as Perth passengers step off public transport

ABC News, 10 December 2017
It has been more than two decades since West Australians were happier with their public transport options than they are now. More than nine out of 10 Perth people who catch public transport say they are satisfied with the service they get, according to the latest results from Transperth’s passenger satisfaction survey.

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Oliver Schmidt jailed for seven years for Volkswagen emissions scam

The Guardian, 7 December 2017
A senior Volkswagen executive was sentenced to seven years in prison by a US court on Wednesday after being found guilty of concealing software used to evade pollution limits on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles. Oliver Schmidt, a German national who was the general manager in charge of VW’s environmental and engineering office in Michigan, had pleaded guilty to his part in the cover-up and argued he was “misused” by VW in its attempts to circumvent US emissions tests.
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In a Global First, Shenzhen Steers Toward 100% Electric Bus Fleet

The City Fix, 4 December 2017
From a small collection of fishing villages 40 years ago to a metropolis on track for a global milestone, Shenzhen has come further, faster than most cities. Already home to the largest fleet of electric buses in the world – roughly 14,500 at the end of May – the city is expected to electrify 100% of its public transit bus fleet by the end of 2017. If successful, it will become the first in the world to do so.
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They know where you go: dockless bike sharing looms as the next disruptor – if key concerns are fixed

The Conversation, 7 December 2017
Beyond the benefits of dockless bike sharing for people’s mobility and health, these services are producing an ever more useful byproduct: journey data. Mapped through global positioning system (GPS) devices on the bikes or via Bluetooth using GPS data from users’ smartphones, the journey data that operators collect could be a powerful tool for city planners and policymakers, possibly even a valuable commodity.
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