Ukraine welcomed one of the top 20 influencers in fuel economy
Within Sustainability Summit that took place on September 13-16 in Shcholkino (Crimea), Ukraine welcomed a special guest – Zachary Shahan, who is included into the list of the top 20 world influencers on fuel economy, as well as a global expert on solar energy. Zachary is the director and the editor in chief of the one of the world’s most popular website focused on clean technologies, CleanTechnica.com, as well as a leading all-around-green and science site Planetsave.com, as well Evobsession.com, website on electro-vehicles.
On the event
Zachary Shahan’s visit was organized by public organization Greencubator, supported by Activ Solar. Greencubator has prepared a rich program for Zachary in Ukraine: several meetings with experts and leaders of the renewable market, media, businesses, students, and sustainability activists. Zachary Shahan has visited Kyiv and continued his journey to Crimea to get acquainted with alternative energies sites in the region (including the world’s 6th largest solar plant in Perovo by Activ Solar). On September1 13-15, Zachary hold several speeches at Sustainability Summit in Shcholkino, where during informal speeches he mentored project initiatives of the participants.
The visit officially began with a meeting in the creative space Chasopys and a lecture for the KPI students in Kyiv. Zachary saw the past and the future of the Ukrainian energy – the ruins of atomic power in Shcholkino and modern ecological solar stations and wind parks in Crimea. He also took part in Sustainability Summit, and on coming back to Kyiv on September 16th, had a test-drive of mass production and hand-made electric cars, represented in Ukraine.
«Greencubator’s mission is to inspire change-makers in energy for socially and environmentally progressive projects. And we are confident that Zachary’s story will make thousand of Ukrainians believe that changes start from ourselves and can be created by anyone who works and believes in what he does», – says Roman Zinchenko, the co-founder of Greencubator.
“Due to Zachary’s phenomena every effort of public organizations in the field of green energy popularization is getting new sense and value. His support of Ukrainian initiatives and even excitement of the things we’ve already done means a lot and gives the new energy for future steps and achievements,” says Yuliya Malko, acting director of ARE Alternativa – information partner of the event.
On the prospects of “green” technologies
Zachary Shahan is convinced that the main benefit of renewable energy is its future impact. Each state is to define the incentives which will work in that special area to favor industry development. In some places, people just want to save on electricity bills; in others, they are eager to produce more and gain profit selling surplus energy. Everything depends on the legislation or business model.
“Anyway, the most efficient instrument ever applied is the feed-in-tariff. It has driven about 70 per cent of solar growth all over the world and about 60 per cent of wind growth. The price for renewables drops and green technologies prove its efficiency in different regions with little connection to climate conditions,” says Zachary.
He also estimated the first successful steps in the field, provided mainly by the “green” tariff and foreign investment: “Despite being rather young, Ukrainian green industry has already got a number of market players and large-scale projects worthy of note, but there is definitely high potential for its individuals to develop clean energy for their own private benefit. You can achieve everything if you really spend some time on it. So take a lead, take a chance. There is a lot of potential in the industry. There are lots of solutions waiting to be implemented. This is the industry of the future!”
On the challenges of the media environment
“The Internet is a wonderful invention that has allowed anyone to become a publisher. As a result, it has changed the entire media industry in profound ways. In many ways, that is awesome. However, with millions of people publishing free content, that inherently brings down the monetary value of media and makes media production more challenging,” says Zachary Shahan.
Concerning the success of CleanTechnica.com, Zachary points out that independent bloggers probably now have comparable influence on society as traditional media. “The problem is that, on the one hand, the journalists often try to reflect different points of views without personal opinion – if you are informed about an issue, you should have an opinion on what you are covering. Additionally, presenting what is referred to ‘false balance’ gives equal voice to special interests and opinions that are frankly not on the same level as ‘the other side’ – it presents to common citizens the impression that something that is factually correct is debatable because someone else (presenting an incorrect statement) is quoted in order to present that conventional journalistic obsession – the other side. Additionally, strong lobbies possess huge power as they have money that they can use to generate misinformation that looks like it comes from genuine research (when it does not) and then feed that to uninformed media professionals to repeat like parrots. And in an increasingly difficult media environment, that a huge help to overworked non-specialist reporters.”
So, Zachary says he and his team have stepped in to address these issues. “We focus on two main things: we try to correct misinformation presented by the mass media, and we help people to realize the cost-competitiveness and practicality of cleantech today.” Cleantechnica.com authors started working as part of a low-investment startup back in 2008. From the time Zachary has been on board, mid-2009, the site has gone from 3 articles a day to 10-20 articles per day. “Sitting at home in my home clothing, reading interesting staff, and writing about it, we often do not feel the affect we really make,” says Zachary. And that is one of the reasons why at first he thought his presence on the list of the world’s top fuel economy influencers was a joke. But Zachary does stand in line with Obama, former US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, Mayor Bloomberg, Bob Lutz, and the heads of most major car companies in the world.