Traveling in the US by boat and train visiting solar laboratories and environmental groups, Keith Barnham found many successful community initiatives in renewable electricity, and brings news of progress towards the ultimate renewable challenge: a solar fuel that could eventually replace gasoline in cars, trucks, buses, trains and aircraft. I am currently on a rail journey across the USA visiting laboratories researching the artificial leaf. My principal aim is to develop a replacement for gasoline from atmospheric carbon dioxide and sunlight. And here’s the good news: the ultimate in people power – the generation of solar fuel on domestic rooftops – appears to be closer than seemed possible in 2014 when I wrote The Burning Answer.The UK could have had an all-renewable electricity supply before 2025, the earliest date that Hinkley Point’s first nuclear reactor could operate. New nuclear would have been redundant before it started. The draconian cuts will postpone this date but it still is achievable before both the planned reactors achieve full power.In the UK around 25% – 50% of a typical renewably aware audience raise their hands. There clearly is still potential to expand GIFTS support. I encourage the revolutionaries that have already switched to persuade friends, schools, workplaces and local authorities to join them. City councils should be encouraging residents and businesses to switch to help achieve their all-renewable electricity target more quickly.
Ecologist 21st July 2016 read more »