About this podcast

Mini nuclear reactors. Farm-fresh ‘local’ cauliflower. Solar lasers. Energy in Conversation is a plain-speaking, thought-provoking look into our energy future, through the eyes of the people leading the way. Join the Energy Institute’s Deane Somerville to hear about tough challenges and big ideas on our journey to a low carbon world.


What to expect from the first season of Energy in Conversation

You can listen to episodes on this page, or subscribe via the platforms below:

S1 Ep.6: Raising energy access and lowering emissions

Published: 18 February 2020

Those with the least income are spending the most on energy, and will be the worst affected by climate change. In the final episode of its first season, Energy in Conversation is taking on two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which are inextricably linked: SDG 7, affordable and clean energy, and SDG 13, climate action. Our guests, Malcolm Brinded and Anshul Patel, discuss how to help those 840 million people with no electricity and 3 billion cooking with dirty inefficient fuels, without driving up climate warming emissions.

Our guests this week

  • Malcolm Brinded

    Malcolm Brinded CBE FREng FEI
    Past President, Energy Institute and
    Trustee, Shell Foundation

  • Anshul Patel

    Anshul Patel
    Chief Commercial Officer

S1 Ep.5: Oil and gas in a net zero world

Published: 4 February 2020

In a world banishing greenhouse gas emissions, all parts of the global economy will have to adapt. This episode asks an existential question for the energy sector: what will today’s oil and gas companies look like in the net zero world of 2050? EI Chief Executive Louise Kingham hosts a conversation between Maarten Wetselaar and Bob Ward. They may not agree on everything, but one thing is for certain: to succeed in the future, companies must show leadership now.

Our guests this week

  • Louise Kingham

    Hosted by
    Louise Kingham OBE FEI
    Chief Executive
    Energy Institute

  • Bob Ward

    Bob Ward
    Policy and Communications Director
    Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

  • Maarten Wetselaar

    Maarten Wetselaar
    Integrated Gas and New Energies Director
    Royal Dutch Shell

S1 Ep.4: Nuclear power in the balance

Published: 21 January 2020

You may think low carbon power generation is a recent innovation. On this episode, we consider a source of electricity which has been providing zero-carbon power for decades – nuclear power. Our first guest, Kirsty Gogan considers how nuclear stacks up in today’s electricity mix when it comes to reliability, public opinion, and cost. Then, Paul Stein tells us how that could all change with an innovative new way of building nuclear power stations – small modular reactors. This is not your grandfather’s technology – but can SMRs compete with the falling price of and rising popularity of renewables?

Our guests this week

S1 Ep.3: The heat equation

Published: 10 December 2019

Our latest episode explores the routes to decarbonising domestic heat. Hear from expert guests, Dr Tim Rotheray and Adam Madgett, about the need to balance both sides of the heating equation - energy efficiency and clean heating sources. We focus on the options for keeping warm without harming the planet, from electricity to heat networks to green gasses. 83% of UK homes have gas-fired boilers today, but what will the future of heating look like?

Our guests this week

  • Dr Tim Rotheray

    Dr Tim Rotheray
    Former Director
    Association for Decentralised Energy

  • Adam Madgett

    Adam Madgett
    HyDeploy Project Manager
    Northern Gas Networks

S1 Ep.2: Energy's digital upgrade

Published: 26 November 2019

This week we focus on the UK's digital energy switchover - like TV and banking, retail energy is getting a 21st-century upgrade. But 1 in 10 UK adults are not internet users, and the same proportion are in fuel poverty. Can a digital energy future close this gap, rather than widen it? From smart kettles to vehicle-to-grid charging, and everything in between, our guests paint their vision for the future and consider how to take everyone along, including and especially vulnerable consumers.

Our guests this week

S1 Ep.1: Food waste? Not cool

Published: 12 November 2019

Our first episode takes place at the intersection of food and energy - two systems which are central to human wellbeing and climate change. Getting food from farm to table is taking a toll on the environment, and 1/3 of all food produced never gets eaten. While the story differs between emerging and advanced economies, energy is at the heart of the challenge wherever we are in the world. Our guests walk us through food's journey, from how it's kept cold to how it's sold, and ask us to rethink society's biggest questions: how can we feed the world without destroying the planet?

Our guests this week

  • Toby Peters

    Professor Toby Peters
    University of Birmingham and Heriot-Watt University

  • Laura Sandys

    Laura Sandys FEI
    Challenging Ideas and Trustee, The Food Foundation

We want to know what you think!

Is there something we missed? Do you have a burning question for next season? You can share your honest feedback on Apple Podcasts, or by tweeting to @EnergyInstitute.

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