Keeping TEQs on track

edie's energy editor Luke Walsh speaks to TEQs champion Shaun Chamberlin on overcoming personal tragedy and becoming the spokesman for a potentially revolutionary system.

Shaun Chamberlin photo by Jonathan Helm

Shaun Chamberlin photo by Jonathan Helm

Becoming the face and spokesman of TEQs is not something Shaun Chamberlin ever wanted.

Not because he's not dedicated to the cause, it's been his calling for many years now, but because the role only became his through the death of one of his closest friends.

Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs) are the brainchild of Dr David Fleming an independent writer who created the system initially as Domestic Tradable Quotas - DTQs) in 1996.

More information on how TEQs work can be found here, but Dr Fleming's tragic passing, in November last year, thrust Shaun into the spotlight as the face of the movement.

"It's been a very tough time for me personally and professionally," said Shaun TEQs development director who also lost his partner only a week after Dr Fleming's death.

"David was one of my best friends and I wanted to feel like I'd done justice to him when I held a press launch for TEQs early this year."

Shaun explains the the launch has put the momentum back behind TEQs.

The system now enjoys backing from a number high-profile figures including eminent green campaigner Jonathon Porritt and the UK's first Green MP Caroline Lucas and multimillionaire Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith.

Shaun explained his focus was now on rallying political and technical support for a functional version of TEQs.

Currently, there is not a fully working version of TEQs, but Shaun hopes to have a functioning one 'within months'.

"After the launch I received a huge amount of interest from software developers interested in taking TEQs forward.

"I'm not a technical expert so I put all the people who contacted me in touch with each other and now we've got a couple of people in America and a few in England taking things forward."

Shaun is also confident work with AMEE, the firm behind Google's carbon calculator, will take forward a workable version of TEQs.

As Shaun says AMEE already have the infrastructure ready to go to create a rating system of TEQs.

And, with one's of the world's largest economies forced to bring in energy rationing after a natural disaster, the need for TEQs looks even more crucial.

"The ultimate aim is having TEQs as an 'off the shelf' solution for Governments faced with energy crises, or wishing to guarantee emissions reductions.

"On that note, I was surprised to receive an email from a senior energy specialist at the World Bank, who shared this extensive report on historical examples of electricity rationing, done both well and badly.

"While I'm not necessarily in agreement with all of the conclusions of the report, it does provide compelling evidence that there is both a need for, and an absence of, a thought-through instrument to ensure the fair distribution of energy at times of scarcity, and to support managed demand reduction."

The next step for TEQs is a 'behind closed doors' seminar where backers and interested parties will discuss the options on the table following the launch.

"The campaign is now moving into a new stage, both due to the greatly increased interest in the scheme, and of course David's death.

"The plan is to arrange a campaign seminar later in the spring for supporters and campaigners to co-create that approach."

One of the top items on the agenda for that meeting will be finding a figure-head for the TEQs movement.

Shaun freely admits while he's the man to explain the technical aspects of the site, perhaps he's not the man to front a long-term PR campaign for TEQs.

"I'm very pleased to find myself in the position I do now, but I'm maybe not the right person to head up a political campaign."

With so much in the pipeline TEQs appears certain to have a future, but whether it can it force its way to the forefront of European energy thinking is one big ask, but 2011 is going to be a big year for the scheme.

Luke Walsh

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