an opinion editorial written exclusively for ANZMEX 

04 July 2022
By Chris Sladen

Energy matters – Don’t give away the future

I get a lot of campaigners visiting my home nowadays who want me to vote for them! In a world with lots of local and national elections, maybe you are struggling with what to say to all these people who come canvassing for your vote? Maybe you are frustrated with their lack of an energy strategy? Or it is impossible to find out? Perhaps they have no clear policy to tell you about?

Here is my energy manifesto to put the world on a path to using less hydrocarbons, supply clean energy, reach Net Zero, and create energy security for all. Every item can be done – it is not that difficult – and it is built around a desire to improve our quality of life and not make the environmental mistakes we have in the past. Wherever you live, feel free to give a copy to those who want your vote…

Reduce the use of fossil fuels & their products, stop all flaring and methane venting, eliminate all toxic leaks and spills, fires & explosions; where possible phase down and phase out fossil fuel using natural gas as a transition fuel if required.

Develop large scale CCUS (carbon capture and underground storage) both for large emitters such as industrial complexes and for direct air capture.

Develop hydrogen, ammonia and biofuels at industrial scale that can replace fossil fuel products.

Build wind & solar projects on a massive scale, both fixed and floating offshore, and onshore focussing on non-productive land; build power storage capacity to smooth production irregularity.

Use geothermal everywhere; shallow, medium, and deep for heating & cooling (both homes as well as large buildings – factories, offices, schools, government buildings, hospitals, airports, horticultural, warehouses, prisons, swimming pools), install ground source heat pumps, repurpose oil & gas wells, where suitable conditions exist produce electric power and mineral extraction from geothermal waters, particularly lithium.

Electrify everything, such as cars, vans, trucks, railways, offshore platforms; install air source heat pumps and put all the infrastructure in place to create stable efficient supply; support electric vehicle manufacture; deliver access to electricity for all as part of accelerating investment to eliminate energy poverty.

Rapid expansion of nuclear by building safe proven zero-carbon options, rapid rollout of mini-nuclear.

Quickly expand other proven renewables where possible; hydro, tidal, waves, sustainable biomass.

Conserve and recycle, insulate everywhere, capture industrial-scale waste heat and biogas, improve efficiency & logistics, turn the heating & AC down, improve road surfaces, reduce radiation, clean up the beaches, stop plastic reaching the oceans and clear out what is already there.

Implement solutions for the hard ones (low emissions airplanes, cement, lorries, ships and manufacturing steel) and assist their financing if needed.

Plant massive numbers of trees, ideally a trillion; expand hedgerows and add trees in all cities; stop cutting down forests, digging up peat, and destroying mangroves.

Carbon pricing, and a carbon emissions trading scheme that enables fair prices to help the commerciality of projects that decarbonise and facilitate a transition towards Net Zero.

Fund research and innovation on new solutions, such as, deep plasma drilling, repurposing old oil & gas wells, fission, mining battery minerals, synthetic fuels, alternatives to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as refrigerants, fuel cells, heat pumps, carbon sequestration using rocks & minerals.

Sort out the skills needed, training & education required for the energy transition both in renewables, green energy, power, hydrocarbons & mining.

Educate everyone, the entire global population, that the world has embarked, and is accelerating, a transition towards a lower carbon energy mix and explain, as a matter of urgency, about what still needs to be done, and the importance of everyone reducing demand both for energy and notably fossil fuels. (The transition will neither be even, equal or smooth, and not everything about green energy will be good). Measure the progress, ensure everyone knows.

And lastly, politely suggest to those who come to your door and want your vote, to stop arguing about it, no excuses and avoiding it; best just get on with it… and don’t let the future slip away.

About the author:

Chris Sladen runs an advisory service offering insights to inform, shape a decision, policy & regulation, and guide the next steps for energy ventures, acquisitions & divestments, energy transition and climate strategies. Chris has a unique global experience having worked in over 40 countries. This is underpinned by extensive knowledge of petroleum systems and where best to find oil and gas, notably in the Gulf of Mexico & nearby areas, Europe and NE & SE Asia, as well as the development of midstream, downstream & renewables investments in many emerging economies. Chris has extensive experience acquired on the Boards of companies, subsidiaries, business chambers & organisations. Chris has a career of over 40 years in the energy sector, living in Mexico (2001-2018), Russia, Vietnam, Mongolia, China & UK. His contributions to the energy and education sectors have been recognised by the UK Government with both an MBE and CBE, and also the Aztec Eagle from the Mexican Government – the first foreigner in the energy sector to achieve this award. Chris has published extensively over five decades. Chris’ articles for Energy Matters reflect his experience and enthusiasm and are not paid for in any way.

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