Wednesday, November 12, 2008

UK energy top ten

Meanwhile, back in wee Blighty, a bracing challenge from Chris Goodall, whose talk for the launch of his new book Ten Technologies to Save the Planet I attended last night. Here are his top ten priorities for UK energy policy, with a nod to global challenges (the chapter references are for the book):
a) Reinforce grid to allow better connection to EU and greater capacity from Scotland to England. Link to Norwegian hydro as most secure source of emergency power. Without changing the way the National Grid is regulated, renewables will be held up by decades thanks to 'first come, first served' rules. Chapter 1 of book.

b) Hundreds of millions a year in subsidy, enhanced tariffs, prizes for tidal and wave power. UK has competitive advantage. Large export potential. Infant industry. Chapter 3

c) Electric car subsidy. Pay people to drive them. Set up charging infrastructure. Battery technology is nearly competitive with liquid fuels. Needs a sustained push and we can decarbonise private driving. Chapter 6

d) Eco-renovations. Copy the Germans and introduce sustained and plausible programme of incentivising major (85% +) improvements in energy efficiency of existing (not new) buildings. Chapter 5

e) Join with other EU governments to back Sahara concentrated solar power. (see TREC) Chapter 2

f) Don't do Feed-In Tariffs for small renewables. Do Feed-In Tariffs for big renewables and phase out ROCs. Far more bang for the buck.

g) Ban coal unless with carbon capture. Offer prizes, and guaranteed prices for CCS delivered power.Chapter 8

h) Large research programme into improving soil carbon storage in tropics. Biochar, pastoral, land management improvements. Chapters 9 and 10

i) See if we can Areva to guarantee €3bn for a PWR reactor as they did with FInland. Epilogue

j) Major programme of land use planning to grow energy crops for fuel, ethanol for cars and fuel cells. Chapter 7.
Among the striking points Chris Goodall made last night was that the average Brit consumes, directly and indirectly, enough energy to keep two electric kettles boiling 24 hours a day (more on that here).

He also has an incisive take on The Nuclear New Deal.

1 comment:

Erich J. Knight said...

The Rest of the Biochar Story:

Charles Mann ("1491")in the Sept. National Geographic has a wonderful soils article which places Terra Preta / Biochar soils center stage.
I think Biochar has climbed the pinnacle, the Combined English and other language circulation of NGM is nearly nine million monthly with more than fifty million readers monthly!
We need to encourage more coverage now, to ride Mann's coattails to public critical mass.

Please put this (soil) bug in your colleague's ears. These issues need to gain traction among all the various disciplines who have an iron in this fire.

I love the "MEGO" factor theme Mann built the story around. Lord... how I KNOW that reaction.

I like his characterization concerning the pot shards found in Terra Preta soils;

so filled with pottery - "It was as if the river's first inhabitants had
thrown a huge, rowdy frat party, smashing every plate in sight, then
buried the evidence."

A couple of researchers I was not aware of were quoted, and I'll be sending them posts about our Biochar group:

and data base;

I also have been trying to convince Michael Pollan ( NYT Food Columnist, Author ) to do a follow up story, with pleading emails to him

Since the NGM cover reads "WHERE FOOD BEGINS" , I thought this would be right down his alley and focus more attention on Mann's work.

I've admiried his ability since "Botany of Desire" to over come the "MEGO" factor (My Eyes Glaze Over) and make food & agriculture into page turners.

It's what Mann hasn't covered that I thought should interest any writer as a follow up article.

The Biochar provisions by Sen.Ken Salazar in the 07 farm bill,

Dr, James Hansen's Global warming solutions paper and letter to the G-8 conference last month, and coming article in Science,

The many new university programs & field studies, in temperate soils

Glomalin's role in soil tilth & Terra Preta,

The International Biochar Initiative Conference Sept 8 in New Castle;

Given the current "Crisis" atmosphere concerning energy, soil sustainability, food vs. Biofuels, and Climate Change what other subject addresses them all?
Biochar, the modern version of an ancient Amazonian agricultural practice called Terra Preta (black earth), is gaining widespread credibility as a way to address world hunger, climate change, rural poverty, deforestation, and energy shortages… SIMULTANEOUSLY!

This technology represents the most comprehensive, low cost, and productive approach to long term stewardship and sustainability.
Terra Preta Soils a process for Carbon Negative Bio fuels, massive Carbon sequestration,10X Lower Methane & N2O soil emissions, and 3X Fertility Too. Every 1 ton of Biomass yields 1/3 ton Charcoal for soil Sequestration.

Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it.

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