Debate 25 - Energy step change- the view from the future

Monday, April 25th, 2005 | Debates

Here are four loosely connecting views on how the nature of energy is changing. The debate was about each of the views and how they fit together.

Energy - the view from the future

Energy - the view from the future

  1. Walt’s argument is with fundamental concepts. A much more radical rethink of the nature of our energy use and the infrastructure necessary to support it is required.
  2. Matthew’s argument is that we need to value technical innovations in a completely different way. This is possible by establishing simple ways of looking at the energy system objectively from the customer perspective and by thinking from the kind of future Walt describes. By creating market institutions that value innovations properly, there is potential to release significant market forces, and deliver radical change very fast.
  3. Joe’s position is that appliances can play a part in distributed control and provide an autonomous self- stabilising mechanism to the grid thereby allowing greater use of intermittent renewables.
  4. David’s position is to show how fridges can cause the grid frequency to become a useful control signal to all players on the grid and how we can use this signal to control a new type of substation, which probably uses DC. Such substations can prevent cascades of power failure, so avoid big blackout, and distribute control decisions throughout the network. Finally, that it may be useful to have small substations of this sort in the house. And, of course, the final question: What voltage should the DC be-hence the title of the debate 42?

The debate was chaired by Mark Whitby, Member of the Edge and Director of +Whitby.

Speaker 1: Decentralizing Networks (pdf)

Walt Patterson, Associate Fellow Chatham House, decentralised electricity champion and recently recognised as such by Scientific American magazine.

Speaker 2: Energy step change - the view from the future (PowerPoint)

Matthew Rhodes, Managing Director of Encraft, pioneering the development of new market mechanisms and informed homeowner participation in the energy market since 2003.

Speaker 3: Dynamic Demand (PowerPoint)

Joe Short, Director of Dynamic Demand, a not-for-profit organisation promoting demand-side techniques to help integrate renewable energy onto the power grid.

Speaker 4: Responsive Technologies (pdf)

David Hirst, inventor, consultant and Director of ResponsiveLoad Limited, which is pursuing technologies to enable a transformed electricity supply industry to support fulfilled low carbon living.

Background Report on Carbon Dioxide savings and dynamic demand control (pdf)

Notes from the debate

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