Walt Patterson

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For other people named Walter Patterson, see Walter Patterson (disambiguation).

Walter C (Walt) Patterson (born November 4, 1936) is a UK-based Canadian physicist and widely published writer and campaigner on energy.

Patterson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and educated at the University of Manitoba. Patterson arrived in the United Kingdom in 1960. Trained as a nuclear physicist, Patterson has spent his life teaching, writing and campaigning. In 1972, he became Friends of the Earth's first energy campaigner (1972–78) at their London office. In 1984-5, Patterson acted as series advisor to the award-winning BBC drama series Edge of Darkness.

Patterson has published thirteen books and hundreds of papers, articles and reviews, on nuclear power, coal technology, renewable energy, energy systems, energy policy and electricity. His most recent book, Keeping the Lights On: Towards Sustainable Electricity was published by Earthscan in 2009 and provides practical road maps for electricity production, supply and use.

Since 1991 he has been a Fellow of what is now the Energy, Environment and Development Programme at Chatham House in London. He is also a Fellow of the Energy Institute, London, and a Visiting Fellow of the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex.


In 2000, the Institute of Energy, now the Energy Institute, awarded Patterson its annual Melchett Medal.[1]

In 2004, Scientific American honoured Patterson as Energy Policy Leader for his work in pioneering the concept of distributed micropower generation.



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