An energetic School on Energy
The second edition of the Joint EPS-SIF International School on Energy (under the leadership of Luisa Cifarelli and Fritz Wagner, directors of the school) took place from 17 to 23 July 2014 in the beautiful Villa Monastero in Varenna on Lake Como.
Sixty-five participants – lecturers and students (PhD students and young post-docs) – from all over the world including Jamaica, Japan and China, attended this school. A nearly complete range of energy-related topics was presented: currently operational traditional and renewable energy systems, future options like new renewables, fission from thorium and fusion including talks on climate and economic aspects of energy production.
The unique contribution of the school is its multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, very seldom found in meetings on energy. Both aspects are very important to get a global insight in the complex energy problem for which there is no unique solution. The students found in this school such an overview. The concepts and ideas involved in modern energy systems were clearly exposed by the lecturers that invested every effort to be as didactic as possible. In this way knowledge gaps were filled and answers were provided to long-standing questions in the mind of the students.
The lecturers did not spare their personal comments on currently ongoing energy reforms in Europe. This often led to an interesting confrontation of ideas that further contributed to deepen the understanding of the subject. Some lecturers in particular criticized the proposed EU energy reform, to the astonishment of the students. One of the main points of critique was that the current EU energy reform is contributing very little to a reduction in global CO2 levels, as Europe only produces 10% of global CO2, the rest being produced elsewhere in the world. This led to the at first sight “provocative” conclusion that unless a global agreement can be reached, current EU expenditures on new energy systems are rather futile to find a serious solution for the rising amount of greenhouse gases worldwide.
The lectures of the school will be published by SIF as Lecture Notes, in a dedicated hardcover edition. They will be also available on-line in open access on the EPJ Web of Conferences, serving as a reference for years to come.