Podcast: TED Talks series - David MacKay: A Reality Check on Renewables

TED Talks


18:48 minutes

TED Talks series, FILMED MAR 2012 - POSTED MAY 2012 - TEDxWarwick

How much land mass would renewables need to power a nation like the UK? An entire country's worth. In this pragmatic talk from TEDxWarwick, David MacKay tours the basic mathematics that show worrying limitations on our sustainable energy options and explains why we should pursue them anyway.

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Learning Goals

David MacKay wants to use hard math to show the actual possible future that we could get using renewable evergy, and what the limitations are.

Context for Use


Description and Teaching Materials

We need a plan that adds up. We need to stop shouting and start talking. And if we can have a grown-up conversation, make a plan that adds up, and get building -- maybe this low-carbon revolution will actually be fun." (David MacKay)

Listen >> TED Talks: David MacKay: A Reality Check on Renewables

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Teaching Notes and Tips

This material can be used to discuss how renewable energy is limited by reality of space and human knowledge.


Assessment is at the discretion of the educator and how this material is applied.

References and Resources

As an information theorist and computer scientist, David MacKay uses hard math to assess our renewable energy options. Full Bio >>


Talks, T. (2012). Podcast: TED Talks series - David MacKay: A Reality Check on Renewables.