Scientific research and technological innovations in Australia
Discuss about the Department of Environment and Energy.
This report is based on the topic of sustainability. Sustainability is the process by which the biological systems can remain productive and diverse. Sustainability can be defined as the goal of the society to maintain the equilibrium between the humans and the ecosystem.
This report is based mainly on the comparison of energy and water sustainability between two countries, namely, Australia and Germany. Further, the discussion in this report is based on different aspects of the process of energy and water sustainability of Australia and Germany. These aspects include, the government regulations of both the countries regarding energy and water sustainability, the scientific research conducted and the technological innovations related to energy and water sustainability in these two countries, the actions taken by non-government or private sector organizations regarding this topic and the exemplary projects executed by these two companies regarding this topic.
The Australian government has taken steps regarding energy efficiency. These policies aim to support Australian households and businesses to work in a more sustainable environment. Information is provided regarding domestic goods and appliances, so that they can be used wisely. Information regarding energy that easily understood is provided. Different types of information is provided to help designers and builders to build and reside in an environmentally sustainable home. Energy rating applications are introduced by governments to compare the energy usage by appliances. Energy efficiency is also taken into consideration in government buildings. Industrial energy efficiency is also taken into consideration. Energy efficiency of non-residential buildings is taken into consideration (Environment.gov.au, 2017).
Australia is a dry continent. It is important that the limited water resources are used wisely. Common problems in Australia include droughts and floods. The amount of water used in the rural areas is higher as compared to the urban areas. In the year 1992, the Australian government had to introduce policies to stop the degradation of the natural resources of Australia. National Water Initiative was taken by the Australian government to increase water efficiency. Water Sensitive Urban Design is also a part of the government initiatives taken for the protection, management and conservation of the urban water cycle (Twidell and Weir 2015).
There are some technologies that help in the conservation of water. These include, use of nanotechnology in water filtration. Availability of clean is a major issue. Hence, water filtration can easily solve this problem. Seawater desalination is another process of water conservation. This is an expensive process. Monitoring the distribution of water from the supplies is another important aspect. Modern instruments like pressure sensors and acoustic sensors are wirelessly connected to monitor the water supply networks, so that the water is not wasted during supply. Computer programs and models are used to control the water used for agricultural purposes (Epstein and Buhovac 2014). This provides a lot of benefit to the farmers. New technologies are used to transform waste waters into resource for generation of energy. A lot of investment is not made in the energy sustainability of Australia. Technologically reliable supply of energy is not available in the country. Improvement of education and extensive training is required to help the country to be equipped with the required skills to adapt to the energy technologies from around the world (Troy 2013).
Private Sector Participation in Australia
Private sectors in Australia play an important role in the energy and water sustainability. The participation of private companies in the water sector in Australia helps to build or expand the water and networks of sanitation. The most important achievements through private sector participation includes, improving the quality of water service, improving the efficiency of water production, decreasing loss of water and enhancing customer care. The private sector also plays an important role in the efforts which are made in Australia to expand renewable energy. This includes electricity, fuels and also thermal energy. The sector of renewable energy has experienced a growth in the 21st century with the help of the investments made by the private sector. The Private and Public Partnership has played an important role in the growth of this sector (Colombo, Bologna and Masera 2013).
One of the projects regarding energy and water sustainability was named Sustainable Sydney 2030. This project has a set of objectives that have been set for Sydney to make it global and green. This plan aims to transform the way the people in the city work, live and play. The three main objectives of this project are Green, Global and Connected. The green objective aims to make the city internationally recognized to be a leader with exceptionally good environmental performance. The global objective aims to make Sydney a global city of Australia and make it a gateway to various tourist attractions. The third and final objective of this project is to be connected. This objective aims to make Central Sydney easy to travel with wide network of walking and cycling. This will connect the rural and urban areas (Dincer and Rosen 2012).
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development aims at the expansion of sustainable systems of energy in the whole world. The government of Germany promotes projects of energy in 70 countries or more. The government has spent more than four billion Euros on the development of sustainable and environment-friendly systems of energy in the various parts of the world (Tester et al. 2012). German government aims at helping its partner countries to create favorable conditions for sustainability of energy supply. The German government also assists developing countries and newly industrializing countries. The water services of Germany has a good record. The annual costs of water consumers at the same level is much cheaper as compared to other countries (Roseland 2012).
Exemplary Project in Australia
Germany has developed modern technologies regarding wastewater treatment. These technologies are tailor-made to adapt to the climate of Germany, quality if water and policies of water management. These technologies also prove to be expensive. The modern wastewater management innovations came into existence in the late 20th century. Developing the sewage systems in a city is sometimes expensive. Germany has proved to be a leader in energy technology (Weaver et al. 2017). The main aim of the technologies related to energy in Germany is to ensure that by 2050, 80% of the production of electricity in the German market should be generated from renewable energy. The main sources of renewable energy in Germany are mainly, Wind Power, Bioenergy, Combined heat and power, Solar energy which includes solar thermal energy and photovoltaic and environmental technologies (Lawrence, Lyons and Wallington 2013).
The aim of the development cooperation of the German government is to ensure sustainable development in the partner countries. The private sector engagement is seen as an important way to use the strengths and potential of the private sector to help to achieve the outcomes of development. The objectives of the German government regarding engagement of private sector includes mobilization of the capital and expertise provided by private sector (Colverson and Perera 2012).
This case study project is about a city in Germany, namely Frieburg located in the southwest corner. This city has a strong academic base and was a part of the Green Movement in the year 1970. This city is known as the Green City of Germany. Frieburg was bombed heavily during the World War II. The city was then again rebuilt. The energy policy of this city is progressive. The three main objectives of the energy policy if this city are saving energy, efficient technologies and renewable energy resources. The city has many policies to ensure energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is the main factor in both residential and commercial buildings. This city always stays as the leader of low-energy development. The most efficient technology developed in Frieburg is Combined Heat and Power (CHP). CHP aims at producing both electricity and heat with the help of capturing the waste heat from the electricity production units. Renewable energy resources in the city include solar energy, wind energy, hydropower energy and biomass energy (Ecotippingpoints.org, 2017).
It can be derived from the above discussion that the regulations regarding energy and water sustainability have been implemented by both the Australian government as well as the German government. The Australian government has implemented different policies by which the consumption of the energy and savings can be monitored by the government management. On the other hand, the German government aims at the sustainable development of not only Germany, but also of its partner countries. In case of water efficiency also Australian government has implemented policies only after the shortage of water resources have occurred. In spite of the fact that Australia is a dry continent, the usage of water is not done wisely. On the other hand, the water usage of Germany is economical as compared to other countries of the same level. Hence, it can be rightly said that the Australian government has a lot to learn from the German government, regarding the sustainability and efficiency issues.
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Colverson, S. and Perera, O., 2012. Harnessing the power of public-private partnerships: The role of hybrid financing strategies in sustainable development. Winnipeg: International Institute for Sustainable Development.
Dincer, I. and Rosen, M.A., 2012. Exergy: energy, environment and sustainable development. Newnes.
Ecotippingpoints.org (2017). Germany - Freiburg - Green City | The EcoTipping Points Project. [online] Ecotippingpoints.org. Available at: https://www.ecotippingpoints.org/our-stories/indepth/germany-freiburg-sustainability-transportation-energy-green-economy.html [Accessed 3 Oct. 2017].
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Roseland, M., 2012. Toward sustainable communities: Solutions for citizens and their governments (Vol. 6). New Society Publishers.
Tester, J.W., Drake, E.M., Driscoll, M.J., Golay, M.W. and Peters, W.A., 2012. Sustainable energy: choosing among options. MIT press.
Troy, P., 2013. Troubled waters: Confronting the water crisis in Australia's cities (p. 217). ANU Press.
Twidell, J. and Weir, T., 2015. Renewable energy resources. Routledge.
Weaver, P., Jansen, L., Van Grootveld, G., Van Spiegel, E. and Vergragt, P., 2017. Sustainable technology development. Routledge.
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