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New Energy Chinwag
51 minutes | a month ago
Our "Six Picks" from the 2020 new energy landscape
In our final episode of 2020, we both brought along three 'picks' from this year's clean energy activity. They don't necessarily reflect the stories that made the biggest headlines or even the most exciting individual news items. Instead we arrived at an eclectic mix of items, some important in themselves but, more interestingly, all exemplify some of the fundamental and disruptive changes that we are seeing in the energy landscape. They range from India to the Gulf of Mexico and from grid balancing to floating wind. We hope you enjoy the listen, and the holiday season ahead. See you next year!
53 minutes | 2 months ago
The UK's 'Ten Point Plan' for a new Industrial Revolution
This week the UK Prime Minister announced a bold vision for the future of UK energy; one with potentially transformative impacts on not only energy but on the country's wider economic activities too. We cast our eye over the various points and targets it contains, discussing whether they are surprising or not, what might be new and how the plan may progress and turn out in reality.
62 minutes | 3 months ago
Examining biofuels, with Ryan Lamberg
In the excitement over electric vehicles, hydrogen and other 'hot' topics in decarbonisation, it can be easy to overlook the role that biofuels have played in replacing fossil fuel usage. Not without controversy of course, the political and perceptual fortunes of the sector have varied over both time and geography. In this episode we talk to Ryan Lamberg, an alternative fuels and transportation consultant who has worked as a sustainability and technical consultant with the National Biodiesel Board (a trade association of U.S. Biomass based diesel producers) for over a decade. In a fascinating discussion, we talk about sustainability, scale, competition and various other issues - in particular based on the US experience in this still-important sector.
54 minutes | 4 months ago
Wind, Ammonia, the Grid & More... with Gavin Catto
In this episode we have a fascinating chat with Gavin Catto, founder of Green Cat Renewables (a specialist renewable energy consultancy focused on driving down the costs of project development). From the UK to North America and from wind power to ammonia, batteries and grid congestion, we cover our usual varied ground. In particular we hear the views of someone with long experience in the renewables sector, at a variety of project scales and focused very much on developing projects and business cases that make sense on the ground. The sound quality may be a little more Internet-affected than normal, but we hope you find that the content certainly isn't!
51 minutes | 6 months ago
Ammonia within the clean energy transition
Ammonia production consumes lots of natural gas and is a big contributor to global carbon emissions. So decarbonising that production by using clean hydrogen sources is one obvious way forward. But what about some of the other ideas that are discussed with regards to ammonia: using it as a hydrogen transport method or as a fuel in itself? In this latest chinwag, we compare some of these issues, discuss some of the pros and cons and try to untangle if, how, where and when ammonia might play a role in the ongoing clean energy transition.
58 minutes | 6 months ago
EPR, AMR, SMR...? A Delve into Nuclear
If there's a subject that's bound to either delight or dismay people - often with little in between - it's nuclear power. Still, we never shy away from any topic - and are always open to learning something new. So this week we invited along Brian Matthews, a guest with in-depth knowledge of the subject. Brian helpfully answered a whole variety of questions and thus enabled us to bring you a highly informative podcast covering technologies, financial challenges, geopolitics and a whole lot in-between. Enjoy!
49 minutes | 7 months ago
The covid recovery & energy: where should the UK spend?
This week, the UK's Prime Minister promised to 'build, build, build', referring to housing and infrastructure. There have been statements about 'coming back stronger and greener'. So it's no surprise that industry sectors from hydrogen to carbon capture to EVs and more are busily lobbying to grab a share of whatever money eventually proves to be available. So this week, we chatted through some of the issues: where should that money go? What will be the priorities? WIll short-term recovery always be in line with long-term sense? Could small firms lose out to the lobbying power of the biggest ones?
52 minutes | 7 months ago
Delivering the hydrogen economy on Orkney
Many people are talking about the hydrogen economy at the moment - indeed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson specifically referred to it as he outlined the UK’s recovery proposals this week. Very few a have actually delivered hydrogen projects though, and even fewer have created a ‘hydrogen economy’. In this chinwag podcast we are joined by Jon Clipsham, who, together with myriad stakeholders, has done just that on Orkney, which can claim to claim to be the global leader in the creation of an island hydrogen economy; enjoy!
46 minutes | 8 months ago
A Cape Canaveral of Hydrogen?
The titular phrase was coined recently by a German government minister and was one that intrigued us. What might it mean? What might it imply as a goal and how might one reach it? Where might comparisons with the original space port make sense and where might the analogy break down?
49 minutes | 8 months ago
CCS: Carbon Capture and Storage
Like another topic we've discussed before, hydrogen, CCS is not new to the world. But, like hydrogen, it has had false dawns in the past, is back in the minds of industry now - and is on the hunt for policy support in order to progress. So it was another ideal topic for us to delve into, in our travel around the potential options available to a new energy industry.
46 minutes | 8 months ago
Covid & Clean Energy
It's sad, but also topical and unavoidable. So in this episode we decided to chat through what some of the implications of the virus might be for the clean energy sector. We were more interested in some of the immediate-term issues, both positive and negative, though as usual the discussion does jump around to include some of our thoughts on what might be further afield. While there are bound to be challenges for current projects and smaller companies, there's also the prospect that such a sudden, enforced change in behaviours and energy patterns means we've just brought forward a bunch of changes and innovations that would have happened more slowly otherwise.
50 minutes | 8 months ago
The Lure of Industrial & Energy Clusters
We've mentioned 'clusters' and 'hubs' in passing before, in our podcasts covering both hydrogen and offshore wind. They are receiving more and more attention in the clean energy world, so it was high time that we delved into them in a bit more detail. What are the advantages of clustering and, of equal importance, what might be some of the downsides and the barriers to their creation?
40 minutes | 9 months ago
Innovation & Supply Chains (with an eye on Offshore Wind)
Starting off by discussing how a move from fixed to floating foundations might impact the offshore wind supply chain here in the UK, we widen the scope to innovation and supply chain more generally. Along the way, we touch on our usual wide range of relevant issues: from industrial strategy and big company purchasing power, to SME innovation challenges and global export considerations.
59 minutes | 10 months ago
Talking Hydrogen in the northwest of England with Amer Gaffar
Amer Gaffar is Director of the Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University, here in the UK. Not surprisingly therefore, he's a keen advocate of the role hydrogen could potentially play in out future energy system! He's also active in the various projects, collaborations and other activities that are looking to place the northwest region of England at the forefront of any future 'hydrogen economy'. So we hear what Amer has to say, both about activities he's involved in and his wider view of progressing the sector, from education to policy. Having chatted about this topic in the past, it's always useful to get another perspective on the subject!
46 minutes | 10 months ago
We've mentioned energy storage a lot in passing, in our previous podcasts. So it seemed like high time to have a chat specifically about this increasingly important subject. What is it being used for? Is it all about batteries or are there other technologies we should keep an eye on? What are some of the issues and market-specific variables that make energy storage such a diverse landscape? This and more in another 45 minutes of wide-ranging energy chat!
38 minutes | a year ago
A comeback for onshore wind & solar in the UK? (and other news...)
This week the UK government announced a consultation into changes to its core mechanism for encouraging utility-scale renewable power deployment. That mechanism is the 'contracts for difference' (CfD) system, with these contracts awarded through competitive auctions. The headline-grabbing proposal is that, having been excluded for several years, onshore wind and solar will both be allowed to bid in future such auctions. So does that mean a big comeback for new projects, particularly onshore wind (given the UK's excellent resource)? Or are there other barriers to growth which need to be addressed too? And what other details were hidden away amidst that announcement? As usual, we chat through our thoughts on these matters...
51 minutes | a year ago
Approaches to Integrating Renewables: California Revisited
We are joined once again by Lincoln Bleveans from Burbank Power & Water, for another view from 'across the pond' (and a lot of land) in California. In particular we explore how this US utility is approaching the challenge of integrating more renewables into their power system. What are the biggest challenges and what are the range of different solutions and approaches that exist? In particular, how can utilities make the transition while delivering the same levels of reliability that customers expect? As usual, the discussion is wide-ranging, covering everything from storage to conventional plants and transmission capacity to demand response!
39 minutes | a year ago
Decarbonisation and the Oil & Gas Industry
This week - the one in which BP announced its intention to be 'net zero' by 2050 - we decided to chat about the oil and gas industry. It's an industry which is often painted as the flat-out enemy of decarbonisation, and one that needs to simply go away rather than adapt. But its also one that employs an awful lot of people, pays out big amounts of tax to the government and has both a lot of attributes (such as big project and risk management expertise) and a lot of investment clout - both of which should be helpful in speeding any energy transition. So how realistic are targets like BP's, where might traditional oil and gas company expertise play into the clean energy sector and what other challenges does the fossil fuels industry face?
44 minutes | a year ago
Can cleantech be 'clean', if it isn't also 'circular'?
One of the many sustainability issues gaining more coverage these days is the idea of a 'circular economy'. With critics warning that the clean energy sector risks piling up mountains of end-of life turbine blades, solar panels and EV batteries, we discuss what the circular economy might mean. Why it should matter to companies - particularly in cleantech - and what influences might bring it to fruition? Does it just mean extra hassle and cost for product producers, or are there opportunities for innovators in there too?
54 minutes | a year ago
Clean Energy: the view from California
For this exciting new 'international' episode, we were delighted to have a guest expert join us: Lincoln Bleveans, Assistant General Manager for Power Supply at Burbank Water & Power in the Los Angeles area of California. As always on New Energy Chinwag, we covered a lot of ground and a lot of different topics! Given our guest, it's no surprise that the focus was on what has, is and will be happening in the clean energy world in (and around) California. California is a market that matters greatly to the development of this industry. Not only is it a leading market in this particular sector but it's a big one in global economic terms too: according to figures published by the IMF and others in 2019, it's now the 5th biggest economy in the world on a GDP basis - that's bigger than the UK! So, like us, we're sure you'll be hugely interested in Lincoln's view of the energy space there.
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