One of our transitioners, Colin Dyas, went along on the 18th to see Professor Tim Greenshaw from the University of Liverpool talk about how much energy the UK will need in the future and the contribution that renewable and non-renewable resources can make to supply that energy, without causing climate change.
Here's his report:
In brief it was about current and future UK energy needs, and how the future need might be met. All options were covered in detail with the exception of geo-thermal.
Tim is a physicist versed in nuclear power. He and others are doing cutting edge research on particle accelerators and reactors that are much more efficient in terms of "energy in-energy out" and less harmful in terms of residual waste. The waste from these machines are measured in tens rather than hundreds of thousands of years. But, the technology is new, time lines long, planning issues complex, and solutions are needed now, not tomorrow. So just like us, the Transition Towns movement, he too was stating that transition is needed now.
He suggested that there is a solution for electricity at least, and it's simple too. It involves "farms" of solar concentrators in hot desert countries. These can produce all the worlds electricity for a limited loss of land mass, which on the whole is uninhabited anyway. The energy can be distributed by high voltage DC cables that are highly efficient and the investments
can add to local and marginalised economies. There are issues of complex regimes and energy security, but no worse than our dependence on Russian or Saudi oil for example.
Apparently it was an interesting and informative night - highly recommended.