21 January 2020 – David Woolgar

Good energy and bad science

Why much of what we think we knew about ‘green energy’ may well be wrong

In this presentation we will be looking at the background to the current energy crisis and the scope of the challenge for the UK and globally. What is the current UK energy plan, and how has it evolved? Can we solve the trilemma of security, affordability and sustainability?

David will consider the challenges from an engineer’s perspective. What do we measure and where are the start and endpoints of our measurement? How do we judge what ‘good’ looks like?

David will conclude with a look at some issues to consider in more detail. How much wind and solar capacity do we need, how will we pay for it? Will we have to give up gas central heating (gas central heating for new-build finishes in 2025)? Is technology in the form of smart grids the answer? Is burning biomass really green?

David Woolgar

David Woolgar David is an engineer and an environmentalist. He originally qualified as a civil engineer and started his career working in Kenya on rural development and later in Botswana on a drought alleviation project.

David had an interlude working in the UK power, petrochemical and gas industry working as an engineer, and also in energy policy and low carbon vehicle policy, before going back to environmental basics. David started designing anaerobic digesters which convert waste to energy in the form of biogas using sewage waste. David then went on to develop agricultural digesters. The company of which David was a director built the first industrial food waste digester in Ludlow. The company then went on to build a fleet of food waste digesters which convert waste food to green energy and return the nutrients to the land as bio-fertiliser.

David represented the Renewable Energy Association in discussions with the Government, Ofgem and the utility companies in the application of the ROCs, FiTs and RHI green energy subsidy schemes.

David currently works as a consultant, advising green energy producers.