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Energy, Policy, Technology

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Ant Wilson, Director of Sustainability & Advanced Design in Building Engineering at AECOM, joined us in the South West on 22 and 23 February 2017 to present to CIBSE members and non-members on current UK and global energy consumption data, current and proposed future Government and European Policy; plus updated on some of the innovative energy solutions becoming commercially available.
 
The topic of Ant’s presentation brought along interest from a variety of backgrounds; and delegates included sustainability engineers, energy consultants, civil engineers, M&E engineers, and even lighting specialists.
 
Highlights of the talk included the revelation that there may not actually be a “fuel crisis” as we understand it, and gas and oil reserves are plentiful, albeit in the Middle East and Russia. However, it was refreshing to see that Europe and Eurasia are year on year producing more energy via renewables. However, although there is reassurance that the UK shall be adopting all EU policies post-Brexit, to avoid a “cliff-edge”, the UK are still not leading the fight for carbon reduction and sustainable energy generation.
 
As many have also predicted, and even BP Technology’s report in November 2015 have shown, solar energy will be the #1 energy source for future generations, with Nuclear at #2 and Geothermal at #3. We also saw from UK Renewable Energy Data 2015, that the South West have key development schemes in solar technology, to yield an 833MW growth.
 
This then poses the question; with all the solar energy generation expected in future, how do we then meet the current issue of turning that energy into a versatile source which is readily available day or night? The answer perhaps is in storage and distribution? Ant followed on to highlight some of the ground breaking and inspirational new technologies being developed, and already being utilised by Tesla (Electric car with “ludicrous mode”), concepts utilising hydropower to “upscale” our energy reserves and supply capacities,  AES already embracing the concept of mass electricity generation and storage, and electricity network upgrades with developments in graphene as a superconductor.
 
As ever, Ant’s talk was teeming with  facts and figures, and tables and charts; to support his highly intelligent and knowledgeable review of the issues facing our industry; when considering how to improve consumption, conservation and now potential storage of energy in our building.
 
We look forward to the next update from Ant, on our journey for self-sufficiency and sustainability in its truest sense.
 
Written by Carla Bartholomew, Honorary Secretary CIBSE South West, Senior Engineer Arup.