Greg Lavery

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Comments & conversations

164131
Greg Lavery
Posted over 2 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
Nick - that is really interesting. Clearly a lot of work needs to be done to better understand the human dimensions of cities. The question is who will pay for this work to be done? If left to academic institutions who are strapped for cash, the work will take a long time. Governments are also watching their budgets and this seems less of a priority than (although closely related to) health and education. Not for profit organisations I also fear do not have the money to arrive at solutions quickly. Will big business pay? I know Shell has done some good work in this area in the past - but generally other big companies have done little. So perhaps it is left to startup entrepreneurs, a source of much of the innovation of the last couple of decades, but I worry that they do not have the time or breadth of knowledge to tackle such big issues. Is the problem just too big and broad to be funded?
164131
Greg Lavery
Posted over 2 years ago
A conversation with Shell: How can the smarter use of energy and other resources unlock the true potential of cities?
Energy efficiency is a subject that has never really been fashionable. There is a well documented set of reasons why energy efficiency has never really caught on - most of them relate to energy users not being bothered making changes or not knowing about the opportunities and technologies for savings. But the potential is huge. While most companies rest on their laurels with a 10% saving, Toyota has achieved 70% reduction in its energy use (at good financial returns) and is striving for more. It is disappointing that large energy companies and investors spend so much time and money on nifty renewable energy technologies while the potential of energy efficiency remains largely untapped - and it is the lowest cost and least environmentally impactful form of emissions reduction. Imagine holding patents to technologies that can reduce vehicle fuel efficiency by 20%. That is equivalent (once the technologies are fully adopted) to providing 20% of the world's oil. Income would be from licence fees instead of selling oil - and there is no danger of spills, explosions or exhaustion of reserves. That is what I call a sustainable business model.