Monthly Archives: January 2012

Evening Classes

The evening classes are all up and running, in Ledbury, Hereford and Kington. All three groups are quite different. The Ledbury group is organised by the Workers Education Association and meets in a very comfortable and well equipped church hall, in Kington we are just a very small group meeting in a large room in a pub, and in Hereford we have the biggest group meeting in the smallest venue, the Rocket Café. All the promotion and publicity are over, which is the bit I don’t much like. Presenting my material and meeting and hearing the ideas and views of the diverse range of people who come along to these classes is the bit I love. Hopefully out of these classes may come practical projects to increase our community response to problems like climate change and peak oil, such as new community owned renewable energy projects like the Leominster Solar Roof I wrote about on this blog in December. Also we should all learn about some of the utterly amazing and positive things that are going on in all countries on Earth, which seldom get mentioned in the media, and which can give us inspiration, hope and renewed enthusiasm and commitment to engage in the struggle to help create a better future. It’s early days and it’ll be really exciting to see how the three groups evolve over the next seven weeks.
Meanwhile several people have been in touch about the possibility of me running these classes in other locations starting in September. So far the most likely look like being Malvern, Monmouth and Shrewsbury. If you live in any of these places, or elsewhere and are interested in me running these classes, or giving one-off talks in your area, do please get in touch via this website.

Deutsche Bahn: 100% renewable energy for German Trains

In the UK there is still the idea that renewable energy is nice and cuddly, great as a small part of the energy mix, but not reliable enough for people to have confidence that it could provide 100% of the energy for a modern economy. People still think that when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining there will be no electricity. An evolving mix of demand management, super and smart grids and a multitude of methods of energy storage are gradually solving these problems of intermittence and variability. (Last January I wrote on this blog about this and will write more on this subject over the next couple of months).
Today I want to write about one decision that demonstrates confidence in renewables perhaps better than any other, and that is the announcement by Deutsche Bahn that it will run its entire operation on renewable energy by 2050, and that it will increase the renewable percentage from 20% to 28% by 2014. They are investing in windfarms and solar panels and are buying in power from renewable energy companies. The German Rail system is the biggest in Europe and is one of the Continents’ very biggest power users. It has a reputation for reliability. Its decision to move toward 100% renewables has been very much lead by its customers. It’s what the German people want, and is considered technologically and practically achievable.
I wonder how long it’ll be before major power using companies in the UK or USA will have the confidence in renewables to make similar announcements, or how long before our citizens have the confidence to ask this of our industrial, commercial and infrastructure companies?
2 articles on the Deutsche Bahn announcement: