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Australia's Chief Scientist Talks Renewable Energy, Nuclear Power, And Robots Taking Our Jobs

Dr Alan Finkel took over as Australia’s new Chief Scientist on January 25 this year. He is a respected neuroscientist, engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, and was the Chancellor of Monash University from 2008 to 2015 and President of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering (ATSE). He also established Axon Instruments, a supplier of electronic and robotic instruments and software for use in cellular neuroscience, genomics and drug discovery.

The Conversation asked Dr Finkel about his views on topics ranging from “techno-optimism” to renewable energy to encouraging young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Morocco Switches On First Phase Of The World's Largest Solar Plant

This week, Morocco switched on the first section of its new Ouarzazate solar power plant. The new installation already creates 160 megawatts of power and is expected to grow to cover 6000 acres by 2018 — making it the largest in the world.

Is This Alice In Mirrorland? Nope, It's How You Test A Solar Mirror

This dreamy photo, which looks like a modern take on Through the Looking-Glass, actually shows how German researchers are testing mirrors for solar power plants at DLR, the German Aerospace Center.

Telstra's Turned On A Couple Of Solar-Powered Exchanges In Victoria

While Telstra may be considered by some as the devil incarnate, the company is doing its part for the environment — it recently switched a couple of its metropolitan exchanges in Victoria over to solar power. Hey, it’s got to stoke the fires of the demonic telephone afterlife somehow.

Australia's First Powerwall Batteries Are Already Installed In NSW

When Tesla’s Powerwall battery energy storage system was first announced, solar-friendly Australians went mad for it. A relatively cheap integrated system that could hook up to the grid and to rooftop solar panels, the Powerwall is one of the first widely-available technologies that could reduce users’ reliance on energy delivered via the national electricity grid. And now, one of the first Powerwall batteries to be installed in Australia is already bolted to the outside wall of a home in western Sydney.

Solar And Wind Could Be The Dominant Source Of Power In The US By 2030

The price of wind and solar is steadily dropping, leading researchers to conclude that CO2 emissions from power production in the US could be significantly reduced within 15 years. And to distribute this energy, they’re calling on America to build an “electron superhighway.”

Australia's First Tesla Powerwall Installed At Energex Energy

The Queensland Government-owned power company Energex has started a trial of Tesla’s Powerwall energy storage battery, commencing with the installation of the first system in the country. The trial will go for the next year, in which time the government will look at options for financial incentives for customers cutting use of grid electricity.

We Could Have This Amazing Solar Power Station In Australia

This is the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, on the border of Nevada and California in the southern United States. With three of these massive solar thermal towers and 4000 acres filled with 173,500 sunlight-reflecting heliostat mirrors, it generates four times as much power as the largest solar plant in the southern hemisphere, and is the largest solar thermal power station in the world. It’s actually beautiful, and we could have it.

All Hail Juno, Our Record-Breaking Solar-Powered Emmissary To Jupiter

Juno broke the interplanetary distance record for solar-powered spacecraft on Wednesday morning. The Jupiter explorer is close to half a billion miles from the Sun, setting a new standard for using solar power for deep space exploration.

Watch A Massive Solar Power Plant Take Shape In The Sahara Desert

Construction for the first phase of Morocco’s Noor 1 power plant is nearing completion. Once complete in 2020, the solar farm will be the largest of its kind in the world. But even now, the plant’s half-million solar mirrors are already visible from space.

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