thinking and writing about energy takes a view of the future,
intentionally or not. I have been doing so explicitly since the
1970s. In 1975, for instance, I pointed out 'The
options UK energy planners are ignoring'. Notes recently
found in my files, for a lecture I gave at Cambridge Energy
Summer School in 1979, entitled 'Energy
and Purpose', show just how far back go the roots of my
current research and writing. My book The
appeared in 1990. Later that year Friends
of the Earth invited me to deliver their John Preedy memorial
lecture. In my archives I recently found the text of my lecture,
also entitled The Energy Alternative. It
gives an uncanny early foretaste of my current work.
I began to focus on electricity. Electric
Futures: Working Papers for Transforming Electricity
appeared in 1998, and Transforming
itself in 1999. A Briefing Paper, three
Working Papers, articles
and speeches culminated
in my book, Keeping
The Lights On: Towards Sustainable Electricity.
then developed the analysis further, in a project entitled
'Managing Energy: Rethinking The
Fundamentals', with three Working Papers intended to be read
in sequence. WP1 argues that we are Managing
Energy Wrong. WP2 discusses Managing
Energy Data. WP3 analyzes 'Managing
Energy Technology'. They led to an ever more radical
perspective, and a working paper, Beyond
The Fire Age.
and speeches followed,
until and since I at last published my latest book, Electricity
Vs Fire: The Fight For Our Future,
2013 I’ve been chair of the Seoul International Energy Advisory
Council, appointed by Mayor Park Won-Soon to assist the Seoul
Municipal Government with their visionary project entitled One
Less Nuclear Power Plant. The initial objective of the project
was to reduce the ‘import’
of fuel and
electricity into Seoul by the equivalent of a 1GW nuclear plant.
It hit its target six months ahead of time. It is now in phase
two, which has just published a book-length commentary called
Urban Energy Policy: Challenges and Opportunities in the City
goldmine of practical policies and measures. I wrote the preface
to the book, which I called ‘Urban
Challenge, Urban Opportunity’.
Centre for Sustainable Resource Economy at Chatham House has
now published my paper on ‘Redefining
Electric Resources’, to follow my previous papers on ‘The
Electric Power Struggle’ and ‘Non-tradeable
resources and the global electricity transition’, the
latter on the Chatham House website resourcetrade.earth.
All three publications are what I call working papers, in
preparation for what I hope will be my next book. Its provisional
title is Living
Cool: Taking The Heat Out Of What We Do.
6 February 2020 I
gave a seminar about the book at
Energy Group at the University of Sussex, and returned to the
theme on 13 August, addressing students from the Indian NTPC
School of Business.