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Topical Tuesdays: Responding to the Energy Crisis with Olly Paish OP, 1979-83

15 NOVEMBER 2022


Zoom Webinar

The Topical Tuesdays series sees guests speakers from the St Paul’s Community share their take on the current environment.

If accessible energy suddenly wasn’t available from 13-Amp sockets or petrol pumps, what would we be prepared to spend to bring it back?

Over the last century, the world economy has become addicted to incredibly cheap fossil fuels. The apparently limitless energy supply underpins almost everything we do. So, whenever its availability is brought into question, energy leaps in price, and panic spreads.

Olly’s talk will take a step back from the current ‘crisis’ and its political rhetoric in order to explore the real value of energy and promote a better understanding of the numbers involved – some of them quite surprising.

It will explore:

  • the numbers behind the kilowatt-hour (kWh), the standard unit of electrical energy that we are shocked to be paying over 30 pence for, and what it can actually do for us.
  • the implications and costs of saving kWh’s rather than always trying to generate more kWh’s to meet a predicted shortfall.
  • the worthwhile options facing the responsible citizen in mitigating this crisis, and what we might reasonably ask of our political leaders.
  • the factual realities and personal experience of implementing some of the domestic solutions being proposed in daily media articles: solar panels, heatpumps, thermostat settings, insulation etc.

This is not the first energy crisis, but the limitations of our planet demand that this time we must find the correct path to come off our addiction. It will not be painless or cheap, but let’s at least face the challenge with a good grasp of the facts.


Olly Paish left St Pauls in 1983 to do an Engineering degree at St John’s College, Cambridge. He has spent his career as a Mechanical & Hydraulic engineer, now with 30 years’ experience in the research, design and implementation of renewable energy systems, both in the UK and in less developed countries.

Since 2003 he has focussed primarily on the implementation of small-scale hydropower schemes across the UK, and has designed over 100 projects, whilst riding the see-saw of numerous government energy policies. He has also learnt many practical lessons from his attempts to minimise the carbon footprint of his own domestic and business activities.

It is free to register for any of our virtual events. However, if you wish to express your appreciation for the programme, please make a donation to the Shaping our Future bursary fund and help talented boys benefit from a St Paul’s education, please click here.

Suggested donation – £10 per household.

Find out more about St Paul’s Topical events here

The views, information, or opinions expressed in this event are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of St Paul’s School and its employees. These events are available for private, non-commercial use only – you may not edit, modify or redistribute.

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