Day One at WREC 2014
By Dan Cash
05 August 2014
WREC2014 Day 1
95 Countries are represented at the 13th World Renewable Energy Conference which opened yesterday at Kingston University.
The first day was dominated by policy and global strategies for combating the challenge of climate change. Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change outlined his three objectives for UK energy policy:
These three objectives posed a difficult topic to discuss, as the new agreements to set global carbon reduction targets were not reached at the UN climate change conference in Durban 2011. If an agreement is made at the conference in Paris next year, the effect would not take place until 2020. This, along with the government’s support of fracking still leaves concerns that changes won’t happen fast enough.
Charles Kutscher of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL - http://www.nrel.gov/) stated the US is highlighting the effects of climate change we are currently experiencing. He claims it is predicted that climate change will cost $270Billion annually if emissions continue at current predictions. Perhaps, what is most concerning, is surveys have suggested that the UK is in the top three of countries where people are least convinced that climate change is attributable to man, alongside the US and Australia.
More positive news came from Hans-Josef Fell from the Energy Watch Group in Germany (http://energywatchgroup.org/en/) who presented data showing that in 2010 there was a cross over in the cost of Nuclear power against costs of Solar PV. It implies that large scale solar power plants are now more cost effective than Nuclear.
Andrew Garad, Chairman of the European Wind Energy Association (http://www.ewea.org/) highlighted that in 2013 Spain’s largest source of energy was Wind Power (albeit 21% in a fairly diverse energy mix) but it further confirms the maturity of renewable energy technologies.
Presentations from Sunand Prassad, former RIBA President, focussed attention back on the need to reduce overall demand in both new and existing building stock. This was explored further by Bill Watts, senior partner at Max Fordham who presented our work in sustainable heating of the UK. The current legislation such as the Renewable Heat Incentive tends to focus attention on using low carbon technologies to produce more heat, rather than removing the need for heat in the first place.
Overall, an exciting first day with more to follow.