During the ‘Energy Debate’ panel hosted on Friday 13 November as part of Energy Ethics 2020, it became clear that the challenges of powering the world on renewable technologies were as palpable as the need to overcome them in order to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels; and reducing this reliance is imperative if we are to limit the impacts of ongoing climate change.
The production of energy through the burning of biological materials has been considered a renewable, reliable and even relatively clean alternative to the use of fossil fuels. However, as the industry has grown these claims have faced increased scrutiny; critics have claimed that biomass on a large scale has negative long- and short-term environmental impacts not only on pollution but on biodiversity generally. So we have to ask: is biomass an energy source of the future?
When half the world struggles with inadequate electricity supply, what happens when we have too much energy? In this post, I look at situations in which overcapacity leads to a “renewable overkill”, creating landscapes of abandonment where wind turbines and other renewable energy projects lie as stalled, prevented or temporarily stranded assets.