About the author

David MacKay is a Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge. He studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge and then obtained his PhD in Computation and Neural Systems at the California Institute of Technology. He returned to Cambridge as a Royal Society research fellow at Darwin College. He is internationally known for his research in machine learning, information theory, and communication systems, including the invention of Dasher, a software interface that enables efficient communication in any language with any muscle. He has taught Physics in Cambridge since 1995. Since 2005, he has devoted much of his time to public teaching about energy. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Climate Change.

The author, July 2008. Photo by David Stern.

Power translation chart kWh/d/p

10-i

GW/UK

310 H

300-

290-

280-

270-

260-

250-

240-

230-

220-

210-

200-

190-

180-

170-

160-

150-

140-

130-

120-

110 -

100-

90-

80-

70-

60-

50-

40-

30-

20-

10-

0 J

2700260025002400230022002100200019001800170016001500140013001200110010009008007006005004003002001000 J

TWh/y

UK Electricity (2004)

230 -j 220210200190180170160150140130120110 -1009080706050403020100-Mtoe/y

UK Electricity fuel input (2004)

1 kWh/d the same as V24 kW

GW often used for 'capacity' (peak output)

TWh/y often used for average output

1 Mtoe 'one million tons of oil equivalent'

"UK" = 60 million people

USA energy consumption: Europe energy consumption:

250 kWh/d per person 125 kWh/d per person

The most commonly used units in public documents discussing power options are:

terawatt-hours per year (TWh/y). 1000 TWh/y per United Kingdom is roughly equal to 45 kWh/d per person.

gigawatts (GW). 2.5 GW per UK is 1 kWh/d per person.

million tons of oil equivalent per year 2 Mtoe/y per UK is roughly 1 kWh/d per person.

Carbon translation chart kWh/d/p 120110100908070605040302010-1

15 H

13 H

10 "j

500-

400-

300-

200-

100-

60% target

World 10 -i GHG emissions

"World CO2 emissions

MtCO2/y / UK GtCO2/y/World GtC/y/World kWh kWh(e)

tCO2 MtC

chemical energy exchange rate: 1 kWh ^ 250 g of CO2 (oil, petrol) (for gas, 1 kWh ^ 200 g) electrical energy is more costly: 1 kWh(e) ^ 445 g of CO2 (gas) (Coal costs twice as much CO2) ton of CO2

million tons of carbon

"UK" = 60 million people "World" = 6 billion people

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