The Great Debate 2016: Can renewables meet our electricity needs? Reading

14 March, 2016 | 18:30 - 18:30

Can renewable energy, such as wind, meet the UK
Can renewable energy, such as wind, meet the UK's energy needs?

About this event

Electricity generation from renewable sources has increased by a factor of over five in the last decade and contributed 19% of total electricity in 2014. Wind generation continues to provide the largest contribution to the renewable total at 49.5% in 2014 with solar generation contributing only 6.3% but the fastest increasing source, having been almost zero in 2009. Can renewables provide an even greater share of our electricity needs over the coming years and if so at what cost and how do we need to adapt to make the most efficient use of them? This event is designed to provide answers to these questions.

The event will consist of four short talks by experts in the field followed by an opportunity for the audience to ask questions of a panel formed by the speakers and to offer their own views. The four talks will cover:

  1. Wind Power – Prof. Fergal Brennan, Director of Energy, Cranfield University,
    - is there scope for further evolution of the technology? What are the current challenges and how are they being addressed?
  2. Solar Power - Prof. Humayun Mughal, CEO, Silicon CPV Plc
    – use of solar power has increased significantly and it is not yet as mature as wind power as a technology – how far can it be developed?
  3. Energy Storage – Andrew Haslett, Chief Engineer, Energy Technologies Institute
    – many forms of renewable energy generation, including wind and solar, are only available intermittently. An ability to store energy to better match availability to demand would be beneficial. What technologies are available or have potential to achieve this economically both as large scale systems and at a domestic level?
  4. Grid Changes – Dr Phil Coker, Lecturer in Renewable Energy, University of Reading
    – renewable generation units tend to be much smaller in size than the traditional power stations around which the grid developed and much of the renewable generation is intermittent and this proportion is likely to increase. What does this mean for the Grid and what changes are we likely to see in the way electricity generation and demand is managed in the future?

The event will be chaired by Prof. Stuart Green, University of Reading. Each talk will last 12 minutes with approximately an hour available for the audience participation part of the event.


Attendance is free of charge but you are asked to reserve your place via the website at:

Note that there are several entrances to the White Knights Campus. For SatNav postcodes, use RG6 6UR if accessing via the Shinfield Road or Pepper Lane gates or use RG6 7BE if approaching from Earley Gate. See campus map. There are a number of car parks in the vicinity of the Palmer Building but please check on site for charges that may apply.

Event materials

The following materials are available for download: