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A varied day in Adelaide with a bike theft, the Lord Mayor and Robert F. Kennedy Jr20.02.2008

Tags: Australia       Comments: 0

Picture of the day

Travelling by Solar Taxi is also an emotional roller coaster. First of all, the Solar Taxi is stopped by the police, then the escort vehicle's bike is stolen. After an eventful start in Adelaide, Louis Palmer meets a famous environmentalist: John F. Kennedy's nephew.
Andrew Dickson is waiting for me in Adelaide. He's busy selling wind power plants to the Australian government but says he'll also have enough time for us. He has a long wait for me though. For only the second time since leaving Switzerland, the police stop me on the highway.

The policeman wants to see my permit to drive in South Australia. I admit that I have no permit because the police stations in the small towns were all closed when I was there. I have to get off the freeway. The police can hardly believe that I have already driven though 20 countries without being stopped - apart from once in Abu Dhabi.
Andrew shows me the way to his house and says it's in a very safe area. I'm always a bit worried when the Solar Taxi is parked in a street overnight, so I'm all the more astonished next morning. The Solar Taxi is fine, but the bike that was attached to the escort vehicle is gone. After travelling through 20 countries it has finally been pinched in a "very safe area".

The World's Only Solar Bus
We are invited to visit the mayor, Michael Harbison, a big fan of solar vehicles. One of his local buses runs on solar power, so it's the world's only solar bus. During our conversation I mention the bike theft, among other things, and later drive Mr Harbison to the Solar City Congress. Two hours later he's back at the Solar Taxi with two new bikes. "I've organised you two bikes so you won't leave Adelaide with bad memories", he says.
The emotional roller coaster keeps on rolling. At the Solar Congress we are invited to a lecture by the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, a global environmental campaigner.

Mr Kennedy can't resist a drive in the Solar Taxi. Our cameraman Erik asks him if the USA is ready for solar energy. "People get very excited when they see actions like these. After all, we want to free ourselves from our dependency on oil", he answers. "If we had invested a fraction of the money in these technologies instead of in war, America would be a completely different country and we could live according to our ideals. Instead we're destroying our prestige, our economy and our environment." Time Magazine recently named Kennedy a "Hero of the Planet".

A Booming Solar Energy Factory
Our last visit of the day is to Adrian, who is proof that Australia is ready for solar energy. He owns Australia's biggest solar energy company and has every reason to be optimistic. "A year ago we were installing three solar systems a week in Adelaide, now it's 20. It's great to see how quickly it's becoming popular here. Not only because house owners get an 8,000 dollar government subsidy for solar systems, but also because having solar cells on the roof is becoming chic and modern. I can't get enough people to do the work for me. It's a real boom."


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