How sustainable is our energy consumption?
|Professor John Senior||Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research), University of Hertfordshire>|
|Malcolm Grimston||Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Imperial College Centre for Energy Policy and Technology|
|Professor Peter Guthrie||Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Cambridge|
|Professor John Loughhead OBE FREng FTSE||Chief Scientific Adviser for the Dept of Energy and Climate Change|
|Professor Goran Strbac||Chair in Electrical Energy Systems, Imperial College London|
|Vote of Thanks|
|Daniel Kenning||Advisory Board Member at Centre for Sustainable Design|
The 2015 EEESTA Seminar “Cold & Dark by 2050?”, EEESTA’s seventeenth annual prestige seminar, took place on the evening of Wednesday 11th November 2015, in the Weston Auditorium of the University of Hertfordshire. Over 300 people had registered, but there were many ‘no-shows’: the biggest was a coachload of 50 pupils from Rickmansworth, Royal Masonic and Watford Boys schools, whose trip was abandoned because it took 45 minutes for the coach to get out of Watford Grammar and was damaged in the process. Despite the no-shows the Seminar was a great success – some feedback suggests it was the best yet.
The University provided a selection of tasty sandwiches in the Atrium for the delegates to enjoy. Networking with other delegates, including a number of HELC members was very enjoyable.
The Seminar was opened by Professor John Senior, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research), University of Hertfordshire, who gave a short welcome address and then handed over to the Chairman, Malcolm Grimston, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Imperial College Centre for Energy Policy and Technology.
Before the main business of the evening the Chairman had two pleasant tasks to fulfill for EEESTA: he presented the EEESTA Innovation Award, and acknowledge a Friend of EEESTA. This year the EEESTA Innovation Award went to Owen Pearce from St Albans School, an outstanding Arkwright Scholar from the region. It is commendable that he has been running the Schools’ Junior STEM club for year 9s, which focuses on engineering design, where the younger pupils learn a great deal from him. He attended the Aerospace Engineering Headstart course at Liverpool. He has applied to study Engineering at Keble College Oxford and four other Russell Group universities.
The Chairman welcomed James Hannah, MICE, as Friend of EEESTA. James Hannah, joined EEESTA in April 2009 as the representative of the Institution of Civil Engineers Herts & Beds Branch Committee. He has been a hard working member of the Seminar Working Group, and his greatest contribution was masterminding the successful 2011 Seminar, “Engineering the Olympics.” His friends on EEESTA, who know him as Jim, were saddened when he retired earlier this year. He has been missed, as he had added a touch of good humour to the meetings, and kept the Secretary on his toes with his “minute” corrections.
The Chairman then set the scene for the Seminar, by giving a very detailed summary of the problem and history of decisions/actions taken by government and other bodies.
The first speaker, Peter Guthrie, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Cambridge, gave a fascinating talk about Demand Reduction. He pointed out that the management of demand in several ways can substantially reduce the cost and environmental impacts of supply without significant loss of quality of service. And whilst there are technical approaches that can be adopted, the biggest changes will be required of users – their demand for energy needs to change.
The second talk entitled Supply Options was given John Loughhead, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Dept of Energy and Climate Change.
He claimed that even in the UK total energy needs could be met 100 times over through the sun, wind and similar, and asked “So why aren’t they? And what are the engineering demands that limit their use?”
The third speaker, Prof. Goran Strbac, Chair in Electrical Energy Systems, Imperial College London, talked about Inter-relationship between supply and demand. This talk was sometimes difficult to follow owing to his very strong accent, but was given with great enthusiasm. His main point was that nowadays, the Internet of Things could enable flexible demand, ie an “intelligent” washing machine or dishwasher would only run when the supply network allowed it to.
He asked, “Provided things were clean by the time required, did it matter when it actually ran?”
The seminar ended with a question and answer session which provided further interesting insights from all the speakers, and was followed by a very comprehensive summary by the Chairman.
The Vote of Thanks was given by Daniel Kenning, Advisory Board Member at Centre for Sustainable Design.
This was the fourth year that EEESTA streamed the seminar live to the Internet, thanks to the technology and generosity of Missing Link Live and Global Teleports, and SES, who provided the space segment. Technical problems marred the webcast, but a recording will be made available.
Photographs on this page by Jack Deanus. Text by Ian Williamson.