Renewable Energy Foundation

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Debate: Blackouts or breaking the rules, is UK electricity in jeopardy?

The Renewable Energy Foundation has today announced a free seminar being held in association with the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the University of Surrey.

Security and reliablity of electricity supply in the United Kingdom is not only a subject of considerable academic concern at the moment, but is one of vital interest and importance to every citizen. Between now and 2015, the UK is likely to see the retirement of a considerable percentage of its generating capacity largely due to environmental commitments. There are also questions regarding the source and cost of our supply of gas, on which our power generation is becoming more dependent.


  • Will renewable energy sources, biomass, tidal, wave, and wind power, and other technologies, be able to make a significant contribution?
  • Will we be able to institute and maintain a meaningful programme of carbon capture and sequestration?
  • Should nuclear be a major player?
  • In seeking solutions to the problem will we damage our own environment?
  • Will all this be overshadowed by financial meltdown?

The panel of experts will debate: When and why will the lights go out, and related questions posed by the audience. This panel discussion will aim to cover various major issues in the power sector, and give the audience an opportunity reach a reasoned and balanced view on the health of the UK electricity system.

Chaired by Dr John Constable, Policy and Research Director, Renewable Energy Foundation

  • Dr J Mike Farley, Director of Technology Policy Liaison, Doosan Babcock
  • Hannah Nixon, Director of Regulating, Ofgem
  • David Porter, Chief Executive, Association of Electricity producers
  • Professor Roland Clift, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Technology and Founding Director of the Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey

Wednesday 13 May 2009, 19.00 for 19.30

Griffiths Lecture Theatre, University of Surrey, Guildford

For more information and details on how to register please visit

Or call Jane at the University events team on 01483 689736

This event is free of charge and open to all

For further information please contact Margareta Stanley on 020 7930 3636 or 07968 049 832 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Notes for Editors: Biographies of the speakers

Dr. John Constable

John Constable is the Director of Policy and Research for the Renewable Energy Foundation (, an independent charity that publishes data and information about renewable energy technologies.

Dr Constable read English at Magdalene College, Cambridge, taking his PhD in 1993. He has subsequently taught at both Kyoto University, Japan, and at Cambridge, where he was, until 2005, Senior Research Fellow of Magdalene College. He is best known as the co-discoverer, with the Japanese physicist Hideaki Aoyama, of the mathematical distinction between verse and prose. He has been working in energy policy since 2004, and he is currently responsible for directing the Renewable Energy Foundation’s program of research.

Hannah Nixon

Hannah is Director of Regulating at Ofgem. She is responsible for leading ‘RPI-X@20’, a two-year review of the workings of the current approach to regulating Britain’s energy networks and develop future policy recommendations. The review is scheduled to conclude in summer 2010.

Hannah joined Ofgem in July 2008. Prior to joining Ofgem Hannah was Head of Regulatory Economics at the Office of Rail Regulation, where she led the development and delivery of key aspects of the economic and financial framework for the 2008 periodic review. She was also a senior consultant at Cambridge Economic Policy Associates where she had significant involvement in formulating company policy and strategy as well as providing regulatory economic and financial advice; and has worked as an economist for Deutsche Bank in London and Frankfurt.

Dr J Mike Farley BSc, CPhys, FEI, FInstNDT

Dr Farley has worked with Doosan Babcock and its predecessors since 1974, initially within the Research & Development Department and later in the Technology Centre, becoming Director of Technology in 1998 and Director of Technology Policy Liaison in 2002.

Dr Farley represents the company on the Advanced Power Generation Technology Forum and is a member of the Government’s Advisory Committee on Carbon Abatement Technology.  Both these groups are involved in the preparation of the UK government’s Carbon Abatement Technologies Strategy for Fossil Fuel Power Generation and agenda for Research, Development and

Demonstration.  Dr Farley is also a member of the Energy Research Partnership and a strong advocate of a strategic approach to government programmes for clean coal technology.

Through membership of the Coal Forum, Chairmanship of the TUC Clean Coal Group and his Chairmanship of the IPA (Industrial and Power Association in Scotland) he has promoted Clean Coal and Carbon Capture and Storage strongly, in both UK and global contexts.  He is a Vice President of EPPSA - the European Power Plant Suppliers’ Association - and a member of the Advisory Committee of the European Technology Platform for Zero-Emissions Fossil Fuel Power Plant.

David Porter

David Porter is the Chief Executive of the Association of Electricity Producers. The Association represents about 95% of the electricity production in the UK and virtually all of the technologies used commercially, from coal, gas and nuclear power to a wide range of renewable energies. He is the Chairman of the Energy Policy Committee of Eurelectric, an Honorary Fellow of the Energy Institute and in 2007 he was appointed OBE for services to the power generation industry. He comments on electricity industry issues regularly in the news media.

Professor Roland Clift

Roland Clift is Distinguished Professor of Environmental Technology and Founding Director of the Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES). His research specialisation is in the broad field of Environmental System Analysis, including Life Cycle Assessment, Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Energy Systems.

Prior to his present appointment, Professor Clift was Head of the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Surrey for 10 years. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and of the Royal Society of Arts, and an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Waste and Environmental Management. He is also Visiting Professor in Environmental System Analysis at Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden and a Director of the Merrill Lynch New Energy Technologies investment trust. In 2003, he was awarded the Sir Frank Whittle medal of the Royal Academy of Engineering “in recognition of an outstanding and sustained engineering achievement contributing to the well-being of the nation”.

In 2005 he completed a 9 year term as a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, and acted as Expert Adviser to an enquiry by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee in “Energy Efficiency”. In 2006, he was appointed a member of the Science Advisory Council of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Professor Clift was honoured in the 2006 New Year's Honours as a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the environment.

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Last Updated on Monday, 15 August 2011