The saddest news of the last few days has been the death of David MacKay, an eminent Cambridge scientist who succeeded in communicating the complex issues of energy policy to a non-specialist audience with enormous clarity.

David embodied Cambridge at its very best, combining insatiable intellectual curiosity, intolerance of sloppy thinking and received wisdom, and a sharp desire to apply knowledge to improve the world as a whole. Read more

Those despairing of the lack of progress in managing climate change or the absence of practical and realistic energy policies in so many countries should take a look at the work being done by some of the world’s great universities.

In Durham, the Energy Institute has focused on the societal aspects of changes in energy technology. One of their main projects is to look at the role and potential of smart grids. Thanks to advances in IT, smart grids now offer the prospect of managing the distributed production and use of power in ways which will transform the economics of the whole sector. Smart grids create automatic processes which can help both businesses and households not only manage what they use but also to become producers themselves –selling power into the grid. Read more