Geographical Society The UK’s Renewable Energy Industry

On Monday 14 November, the Geographical Society welcomed back to Eton former pupils Ben Heathcote-Amory, George Percy and Dave Jardine-Patterson for an engaging talk on the UK’s renewable energy industry.

Each guest spoke based on his particular experience in the industry, working with different energy sources and technologies. The talks centred around the potential roles of biomass, wind, solar and geothermal technology in meeting the UK’s rising energy demands in the future. The speakers offered a great deal of insight into their specialist areas, particularly into the environmental and political considerations that continue to affect the renewables industry. It became very clear that all the speakers viewed political uncertainty resulting from changing government policy as a significant factor in impeding the progress of renewables in this country.

The talks included a lot of information that was worth noting in reference to future energy provision, such as the fact that this country’s wind resources are the greatest in Europe and that proper forest management for biomass production in the UK is on the increase and can provide a carbon-neutral way of producing energy. Many were surprised to hear that geothermal energy was not merely to be found in countries such as Iceland, as the UK does in fact contain significant reserves. Moreover, it was interesting to hear the speakers’ views on the role of renewable technologies in the developing world. The conclusion was that in many locations in LEDCs there is enormous potential for energy production, which is something to consider for the future. Until then however, many countries will rely on private energy companies to come in and exploit their respective resources.

Jack Davies ma OS (RPDF)