In the Thinking Critically About Sustainable Energy (TCASE) series — currently up to 10 parts on the BNC blog — I consider the challenges we face in scaling up renewable or nuclear energy technologies to replace fossil fuels. The blog serialisation of TCASE will continue on BNC, but the format is now also moving into a new communication medium — interactive seminars. In collaboration with the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus), I have been planning — and will act as host and moderator — for the ‘TCASE Live’ series, launching next week on Wed 7th July 2010. The event is sponsored by the Environment Institute’s Centre for Energy Technology (of which I’m a member), and the Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources.
To book your (free) seat at the first event, click here. Do it soon, to avoid disappointment (the venue can only hold about 130 people). Each session will be held at the Science Exchange in Adelaide (Google Map link), and will also be broadcast soon after each event on the internet (tune into my Twitter feed to keep updated with the podcasts, vodcasts and slides).
Here is the context statement and sequence of events for the 6-part series, run monthly through to the end of 2010:
Thinking Critically for Sustainable Energy: the seminar series
The ability to harness natural resources and transform them into sources of useable energy has been essential in the development of modern society. As a result the supply and consumption of energy has now become central to the economies of developed nations and is vital in sustaining agriculture, construction, transportation and communications.
Since industrialisation, fossil fuels have represented a readily available and inexpensive source of energy. But as more countries become industrialised and the competition for these finite resources begins to increase exponentially, we are now facing the real threat that supply of these fuels may not be able to keep up with demand. Additionally the mining and burning of these fuels has been shown to have many adverse environmental effects. In particular the threat of anthropogenic climatic change due to the combustion of these fuels is now a major global concern.