Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The UK Energy Trilemma

Elizabeth Rush, SELA Cohort 2014

On the 25th April, concluding an unbelievably prosperous two years as members of the 2014 cohort, the collection of 11 students set up for their final presentation on The UK Energy Trilemma.

The year long project began in October following the triumph of their previous project, the 2015 Bootcamp. Starting slowly the cohort were taught skills on infographics and causal loops that would ultimately be the conclusive dissemination of the project. Once the basic understanding of presentation was completed, then came the information. Over the year expert upon expert have lectured to the cohort with the likes of specialists in renewable energy, representatives from Siemens and ex-Members of Parliament talking about what technology is at the forefront of this wicked problem.

Working together with the insight given to us by these titans of industry gave us the tools we needed to tackle this project head on. We elected to divide sections of the work into energy sources and distribution , in turn giving these to pairs of members to critically analyse using all the assets we were fortuitously allowed. Breaking down powerpoints, recordings and handwritten notes into key points was an achievement in itself, but the information we gathered then had to be collated into a format that was simple and direct whilst maintaining the expert undertone that we were provided.

By the end of this process, members of the cohort talked confidently about how these elements affected the UK population and at this stage we were positive we were ready to present our findings. Enlisting the help of Robert (illustrator) he was able to transform the chaotic biro causal loops we handed over into intricately illustrated guides through the stressed problems and positives of the corresponding topic. These were made all the more dynamic after printing in full A0 which allowed the cohort to view the magnitude of what we had accomplished.

These posters were hung within the Diamond in preparation for the arrival of the SELA stakeholders, researchers and key speakers we had received over the course of the academic year.  As we quietly discussed the finishing touches to our presentations our guests began to trickle in, who we greeted with friendly faces and welcomed back enthusiastically. Following our opening presentations and brief overview of each topic, we asked our guests to examine our findings more closely and ask any questions they had for us. This section they were evidently prepared for as each member was in the line of their challenging questions, although our extensive research supported an entertaining debate for student and professional alike.
The closing statements of the evening allowed us to thank our many guests for their attendance and to summarise what challenges we encountered and what we expect to come. Met by nodding heads and an emphatic applause the evening concluded, an event that we feel epitomised our success as members of the Sheffield Engineering Leadership Academy.

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