Carless cities at the European Future Energy Forum

Peter Sharratt speaking at the European Future Energy Forum

One of the more interesting sessions at the European Future Energy Forum was the one on Green building (in fact it was two back to back sessions, one titled Green building and the second was titled Energy Efficiency in Commercial and public spaces).

Not surprisingly, given their heavy involvement in the organisation of the event, both talks referenced the Masdar project.

Peter Sharratt (pictured above), the Global Director, Energy & Sustainability Services for WSP Environment, keynoted and gave a superb talk taking at first a very macro view and drilling down to some really good examples from completed projects.

One of the more interesting tidbits I took from Peter’s talk was around how Masdar will be an entirely carless city. There will be large car-parks at the entrances to the city where people will leave their cars. They will then use electric Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) vehicles to go to their destination moving around the underground of the city (below street level). I asked some of the Masdar representatives how deliveries to shops would be handled, for instance and he said they would have a flat-bed equivalent of the PRTs which would handle that.

Peter said that due to the lack of compressors and more especially the lack of traffic, Masdar would be the world’s quietest city. As someone who lives beside a heavily trafficked street in Seville, this resonates hugely with me!

Interestingly this was a theme also picked up at the sustainable transport session!


European Future Energy Forum – opening session

Bianca Jagger at the European Future Energy Forum

The first European Future Energy Forum kicked off this morning in Bilbao.

The opening session in the main auditorium was addressed by the Chair of the World Future Council, Bianca Jagger, the CEO of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC) which is mandated to undertake and drive the Masdar Initiative, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the president of the Basque Government, Mr Patxi López and the President of the Regional Government of Bizkaia (a province in the Basque country), Mr Jose Luis Bilbao.

Both Jose Luis Bilbao and Patxi López talked up renewable energy and put the Basque country forward as an area with a strong interest in renewable energy technology. Spain is one of the world’s leading countries in the production of both wind and solar energy, (in January 2009 the total electricity demand produced with renewable energy sources reached the 34.8% saving €90m in gas imports!), however, the Basque country is currently languishing at 5.1% of demand sourced from renewables!

Hopefully Patxi López and Jose Luis Bilbao were impressed enough by the talks from Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber and Bianca Jagger to try to increase that %

For their part both Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber and Bianca Jagger gave very interesting talks. Dr Jaber discussed his Masdar project and talked of how Abu Dhabi has had a paradigm shift from a fishing and subsistence nased economy to an oil based one and how it now needs to transition to one based on renewables. Coming from a country which has depended so heavily on oil for its income for so long, it is both heartening and a little disquieting to hear that Abu Dhabi is now looking to get into renewables. Can you say Peak Oil? Dr Jaber also made the case for the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to be based in Masdar.

Bianca Jagger, the Chair of the World Future Council, gave a hugely impressive, fact based and impassioned speech quoting variously and at ease from Nasa’s Jim Hansen, Nicholas Stern (author of the Stern Review, former Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank) and the reports of the IPCC. Ms Jagger aimed a broadside squarely at the nuclear industry whom she accused of Greenwashing by trying to pass themselves off as non-carbon emitting. Every stage of nuclear generation, from mining to dealing with the waste byproducts generates CO2, she said and nuclear energy emits significantly more CO2 than wind, solar or hydro. Ms Jagger also referenced the foundation of IRENA and emphasised its importance and she finished off asking if the 20% renewable energy by 2020 goals of the EU were going to be enough to avert a climate catastrophe.


Last Monday’s Energy and Sustainability show

Live TV : Ustream

I have been running a weekly GreenMonk Energy and Sustainability show over on Ustream every Monday at 4:30pm CET, (3:30pm GMT, right now with the hour change that is 11:30 ET and 08:30 PT).

I started slow and didn’t market it heavily as I wanted the show to grow its own legs and I wanted to become more comfortable with the medium. It has now started to develop a following and very positive feedback so I think the time has come to start talking it up more.

Above is last Monday’s show (March 16th 2009) and below is the live chat stream from people who were watching and interacting with me live during the show.

Feel free to drop by next Monday, or any Monday and join in. I plan on making the show more interactive possibly bringing people in using virtual world’s or similar technology. Also, next Monday, I have a surprise special guest in a short pre-recorded slot!

04:31 yellowpark : afternoon all
04:31 TomRaftery : Hi all – just starting
04:32 leewilkins : afternoon guys
04:32 mikeTheBee-1 : Hi all
04:33 mikeTheBee-1 : 11 viewers
04:33 dahowlett : afternoon sports fans
04:36 zSAPping : Hey
04:36 mikeTheBee-1 : Would worry a lot of people, about snoops and burglars
04:37 mikeTheBee-1 : Sell it to burlars 🙂
04:37 ustreamer-58948 : Targetted advertising and profiling.
04:38 mikeTheBee-1 : 14 viewers
04:38 yellowpark : miuke – if burglars want to get, i reckon it’ll be easier to get the data from twitter rather than analysing electricity data
04:39 yellowpark : indeed
04:40 dahowlett : I have a VERY big dog…but she’d lick you to death
04:40 leewilkins : I have a VERY small dog, and he’d fall over!
04:41 TomRaftery :
04:42 mikeTheBee-1 : I heard a lot of reports on steam media about that conference
04:43 TomRaftery :
04:45 mikeTheBee-1 : Reports of rocks that will do the same on CNN this AM
04:46 TomRaftery :
04:48 mikeTheBee-1 : 14 Viewers
04:48 TomRaftery :
04:48 dahowlett : I wish the ads wouldn’t keep popping up…
04:49 yellowpark : did you hear of the movie coming out this week about climate change btw
04:49 leewilkins : caught a Discovery Green Science piece recently about how John Deere are now commited to going green, and are now building their machinery with Corn and Peas!
04:49 mikeTheBee-1 :
04:49 yellowpark : yes
04:49 yellowpark : premiered. comes out thurs
04:50 leewilkins : coincidently the town is called Greensburg where their produced!
04:50 yellowpark : solar powered premier apparently
04:51 dahowlett : We now have our formal quote for biomass heating etc. < 2.5K euros net of grants. Gives us 100% renewable energy for as long as the olive trees continue to grow. 04:51 leewilkins : the plastics! 04:52 dahowlett : all-in 04:52 yellowpark : wow 04:52 zSAPping : via @ewh: @TomRaftery talking about new green city Masdar City; just read a good article in Technology Review Mag about it 04:53 dahowlett : Running cost in winter is estimated as no more than 30 euro/week so it's a win/win/win 04:53 dahowlett : all heating and water 04:54 TomRaftery : 04:55 TomRaftery : 04:55 zSAPping : That link was from Ed Herrmann who can't make it into the chat. 04:56 mikeTheBee-1 : Impressive if its 95% surprises me 04:56 dahowlett : nice to see @ewH is finagling around firewalls. 04:56 ustreamer-72352 : On computers sleeping: University of Michigan just unveiled a paper on giving servers naps 04:56 ustreamer-72352 : 04:57 yellowpark : pvr? 04:57 yellowpark : ah. ok 04:57 mikeTheBee-1 : Good news for the model. 04:57 dahowlett : Sky+???? WTF? 04:58 yellowpark : hardly any of these boxes are low power 04:58 mikeTheBee-1 : The LNB needs power at all times 04:58 yellowpark : i bought two new freeview boxes before xmas. Virtually none of them had low power details on the standby info 04:58 dahowlett : That's ridiculous 04:59 mikeTheBee-1 : LNB=satellite dish receiver 04:59 dahowlett : Cheap mfrs responding to distros?? 05:00 dahowlett : Spanish TV is grim 05:00 mikeTheBee-1 : Sky+ is HD and pvr 05:00 yellowpark : i think old mindset when electricity was cheap 05:00 yellowpark : no one bothered about how much electricity it used. now is different 05:01 dahowlett : Buenos tardes.... 05:01 mikeTheBee-1 : I'' be on if anyone want to join for a few mins after the show. 05:01 dahowlett : Good show Tom 05:02 leewilkins : good show 05:02 yellowpark : great 05:02 mikeTheBee-1 : Cheers all] 05:02 yellowpark : thanks tom 05:02 TomRaftery : Thanks everyone for making it a great show