Without the hot air

There’s a lot happening in the renewables space around the world right now… and it’s important to retain that sense of perspective and continue to look through the right lens.

This is especially important with the Paris Agreement being formalised and many hundreds of major corporations, governments and other organisations pushing on with investments in clean technology, renewables and low carbon solutions.

A quick renewables round-up:

  • India reports attracting investments of $14 billion into renewables over the last three years
  • SSE is offering new 100% renewable energy/zero GHG contracts to British businesses
  • France has raised green energy targets and will be issuing Green Bonds to finance projects
  • Argentina is introducing new laws to bring forward development of 10GW of renewables by 2025
  • All you iMessages sent using Apple products are powered by renewables!
  • Melbourne City Council has formed a consortium to deliver Australia’s first large renewable scheme
  • More than a fifth of the world’s electricity is from renewable sources, predicted to reach a quarter by 2020 according to the World Bank.

These developments are just a few headlines and there is much more besides.

But are we backing the right mix of horses?

Journalist Mark Lynas interviewed Professor David MacKay shortly before his death from cancer in April 2016 aged just 48. In what is a very frank and wide ranging interview with the author of ‘Sustainable Energy - without the hot air’, Prof MacKay notes his disappointment that support for the development of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology has wained and challenges NGO presumptions that it’s one or the other when it comes to fossil and nuclear .v. renewables.

It is well worth viewing the interview - I’ll just provide two quotes used by others (Lynas asks that the interview is not ‘sensationalised’ through selective quoting, quite rightly). First, a comment on energy policy:

“The lack of progress is very disappointing - I had really hoped the UK would be one of the leaders of the development of CCS technology for the world. All the models show CCS is an essential technology.”

Prof. McKay also pauses to reflect on consumer technology: “I think electric vehicles are going to be a massive hit, just as people went from cassette to modern iPods. That is going to be a very positive development.”

Professor David MacKay was chief scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) from 2009-2014. Infrastructure Footprint offer our condolences to Prof. MacKay’s family.

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