CLIMATE CONFERENCE SUMMARY – DAY 2, 8 May

CONFERENCE SUMMARY – Day 2

Dr Saskia Murk-Jansen of Peterhouse, Cambridge opened today’s proceedings on the theme of Renewables

Stewart Boyle of South East Wood Fuels Ltd spoke on the topic of Biomass and Beyond.

Alan Rosling of Kiran Energy spoke on Harnessing the Indian Sun.  Solar energy has been a success in India, especially in barren areas.  The borders of the country are not used for anything else much so a massive scale use of solar panels has been very effective.

Ed Gill from Good Energy (a company that provides electricity entirely from renewable resources) spoke on Wind Farms.

Roy Baria, Director of EGS Energy, spoke on Deep Geothermal Energy: UK’s Buried Treasure? The geothermal resource is just waiting to be used, especially in the SW of England.  The potential has been thus far largely ignored.  Drilling of holes deep into the earth’s surface to create a water reservoir and heat naturally to 160-200 degrees.  Can provide uninterrupted carbon-free energy towards providing electricity.

Craig Sams, Executive Chairman of Carbon Gold, spoke on the topic of Biochar. The replacement of peat with biochar as an environmentally friendly approach to reduce the depletion of peat.

RENEWABLES AND NUCLEAR ENERGY

David Handley, Chief Economist of Renewable Energy Systems spoke on the topic: Can We Get to 50% by 2030?

He spoke about the decarbonisation of transport, heating, waste, agriculture and electricity.  Can unviable options for the UK flourish elsewhere then be accommodated by the UK later on?

Professor Jim Skea, Research Director of UKERC spoke on the subject of renewable targets. 

He said there is no reason that renewable targets of 70% could not be reached in an ideal world but economics and financial sectors will always determine the success of reaching targets at desired rates.  For instance, on-shore wind energy is already well-established but the growth of this will have a visual impact on the landscape as the scale increases.

Malcolm Grinston from Chatham House spoke on Nuclear Power.  He outlined 3 separate phases in the history of nuclear energy.

The first in the 1960’s during which the relatively benign trust in government led to big nuclear power construction projects.  The second phase from 1970-2005 involved the liberalisation of power markets, abundant natural gas, increasing concerns about radiation and phasing out of nuclear power begain in some countries.  From 2005-2011, peak demands periods for provision of power were recognised, oil prices rosed and there were growing concerns about greenhouse gas. Now, nuclear power plants are under construction in many countries and others awaiting consent but Uranium is of course, a limited resource.  The common factors of all these stages are that there are always economic problems but the drivers have been different at each time.

The common theme of the day was that energy storage is the goal, although a challenging one and that intermittent energy sources and long-term incentives are needed.

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