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March 24th, 2011

Towards a Greener Britain: Is There a Winning Technology?

London -

A few weeks ago, I attended an Economist debate between a diverse spectrum of speakers including, Shell, Academics, and Greenpeace to name a few. Despite their differences there as one point that gathered a consensus. There is not going to be one winning technology, but instead a mosaic of technologies.

The general theme was that green technology divides into roughly two aspects, energy and transport. Arguments were made for and against all the usual suspects within these categories, and rather than try and make the case for and against the many different combinations of technologies – I am going to pick out a few questions that were answered and other points of interest.

Q. What contribution is wind energy going to make in the U.K.?

A. Although the wind sector has been widely heralded, the general consensus was that growth after 2030 might not keep pace. It was also advocated that wind must be pursued fully, changing strict U.K. planning laws to allow onshore to be developed faster.

How to encourage the right technologies – It was suggested that the best way is to let the market decide the clean technologies. It was also proposed that the fair market enabling carbon price won’t be seen until 2030, but it will be too late by this point. If the market theory that government cannot choose the right technologies to be supported then how can we expect the best technologies to appear? It made me think of a book I read 18 months ago Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution a must read for energy policy maker, while based on the US it is applicable and critical for that every country takes note.

Exportation of technologies – An example was made about a U.K. electric van maker that has just gone insolvent, and that government procurement policies should be more supportive to U.K. firms similar to other European countries. Another speaker replied that we should just buy them (the Vans) from Renault. The original speaker made a retort that resonates with me, if a country imports all its green technologies it is missing out on a huge opportunity to develop skills and be able to export technologies around the world.

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March 7th, 2011

Top 5 Resources to Plug into the UK Cleantech Industry

London -

I, like James Byrne, am a new Industry Insider for the UK end of GLD (hello GLDers!). After many many months of reading, investigating and ‘testing of water’ I decided to begin my career in the cleantech sector by starting a market research & analysis business around 6 months ago. Although relatively new to the sector, I have found the UK cleantech space to be full of ambitious and passionate people; though it is fair to say I’ve found myself in the minority.

What has also struck me is the diversity of philosophies on where the cleantech industry could or (for the more affirmative) should be going. A recent idea I was discussing with someone focused on the premise that the industry should no longer be called cleantech, but solely tech. A similar concept to our current 1 pence coin being initially called a ‘new-pence’ until the new was dropped soon after its inception. The fact that these questions are being discussed at the moment is what really draws me to this industry; especially in the UK where over the next decade there will be a huge cultural shift as cleantech no longer need be called cleantech (as it is the norm). At least I hope that this is the case.

Starting a career in the cleantech industry was daunting and most of all confusing. With new deals, industry developments and energy policy changing on an almost daily basis, it pays to have a list of useful cleantech resources at your disposal, in the drop of a hat. So what are those all-important top five useful UK cleantech resources? Well here is a list of the ones that I have found useful whilst starting a cleantech career out here in the UK:

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March 4th, 2011

GLD Spreads Across the Pond to the UK

London -

A warm hello to all GDLers, my name is James Byrne the latest addition to burgeoning GLD team, and the first of hopefully many from the U.K.

My Background

I am currently undertaking a Masters degree at the University of Warwick in International Technology Management with my research area in the Commercialization of Disruptive Clean Technologies at the Bottom of the Pyramid. In the past I have worked in the I.T industry and have had relationships with several Clean Tech start-ups.

The route to becoming an Industry Insider

Since finishing my undergraduate degree in summer 2009, I have been trying to find a route into the Clean Tech industry. I began by attending as many events that I could in the U.K. and in a number of developing countries during the time I spent travelling over the last year. I realised increasingly that my presence at these event was something of a rarity, with the majority of attendees 40+.

I fervently believe in the need for young people to be engaged in the industry and make connections with other young people that will grow over time fostering careers in the process.  The lack of young people at these events and my own desire to befriend peers in the industry gave inspiration to try and do something about it. After months of trying to connect with young people and figure out what form this would take, I happened across the Green Light Distrikt.

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