055_G19_Arena

Global

Arena Environment paramount to achieving climate change aims. “This is an absolute requirement,” he says. “We can do things with energy efficiency and attempt to lead behavioural changes, but without clean technology – and without renewables – we won’t be able to achieve our targets.” In terms of the most financially viable form of alternative energy, Templer points to three forms of renewable energy production – wind power, photovoltaics and solar heating. He refers to the work of Michael Liebreich, chairman of the Advisory Board of New Energy Finance, which suggests that, when all other subsidies are taken out of the equation, onshore wind power is cheaper than any other form of power generation. “Onshore wind power is a no-brainer,” Templer says. “Notwithstanding protests with regards to the landscape and so on, if push came to shove, we could supply ourselves with electricity.” Templer also suggests that photovoltaics will be cheaper than any fossil fuel within the next three years, with research currently being carried out to develop a new form made from plastic. David King claims that we are reaching a point of transition with photovoltaics, similar to that previously experienced with mobile phones, as the price of plastic has decreased substantially in recent years. Solar power is possibly the simplest form of renewable energy out there – after all, what could be easier than using the planet’s main source of heat and energy to supply central heating and hot water? “It’s really not expensive,” Templer says, “and it has the potential to provide people in the UK with up to 60 per cent of their hot water needs.” In terms of energy supply, then, wind power and solar power are already available and reasonably cost-effective in their current state. Furthermore, research from Climate-KIC, which looks into data available from manufacturers, suppliers and end users, suggests that more advanced versions of these could become even more affordable. “These manufacturers are following standard innovation developmental curves,” Templer says. “There is 15 years’ worth of data available which suggests that all these methods are about to get cheaper than anything else.” However, while clean energy may be cost-effective, the existence of these clean technologies is only one part of the solution: thought also needs to be given to how to persuade businesses and individuals to opt for cleaner methods of energy production. The solution to this issue, Templer argues, is simple – tax CO2 emissions and let the market take care of business. “If you tax CO2, people will respond. Treat CO2 emitted through factories and cars as a pollutant and charge tax on it. Then people will opt for methods of production which don’t emit CO2.” You may be thinking that if clean energy is cost-effective, and www.global global four th quar ter 2014 -br ief ing.org l 55  Ideas to save the planet The UK Accelerator Programme, run by public–private partnership Climate-KIC, works to uncover promising new talent in the UK’s clean technology sector. Each year entrepreneurs are invited to present their innovative ideas, a number of which will go on to become the year’s new clean-technology ventures, with assistance from Climate-KIC to accelerate them into investable start-up businesses. Those chosen as part of the 2014 programme include: ■■ AquaCommand – developers of a smart water metering device for use in homes ■■ Ooho! – the brains behind a new form of entirely edible water packaging ■■ Reduse – the creators of the Unprinter, a printer-like device capable of removing toner from previously used paper ■■ Novagg – the makers of a structural lightweight aggregate made almost entirely (98 per cent) from waste diverted from landfill


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