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Reducing energy waste key to meeting climate goals

FILE PHOTO: Californians urged to cut power use during extreme heat

By Gloria Dickie

LONDON (Reuters) - Embracing decentralised power grids may be the way forward in building out renewable energy capacity to reach global climate goals, the CEO of investment firm Sustainable Development Capital said on Monday.

Speaking on a panel at the Reuters IMPACT sustainability conference in central London, Jonathan Maxwell said U.S. electricity challenges showed a need to "focus on decentralisation".

"Let's generate (electricity) locally or on site so we don't waste energy somewhere between conversion and transmission, distribution and end use," Maxwell said, answering a question from Arctic Basecamp founder Gail Whiteman about lessons learned in the green transition.

Responding to an earlier call by London Mayor Sadiq Khan for 75 billion pounds ($84 billion) in investment to meet the city's net zero goals, Maxwell said that improving energy efficiency could achieve this at a much lower cost.

With Europe facing an energy crisis this year, others speaking on the panel titled "Moving Beyond Net Zero" said the recent uptick in coal production should not encourage a fossil fuel revival.

"We are so badly prepared (for the coming winter) that there may be some unfortunate increases, but there should be no investment in further fossil fuel infrastructure," said Jill Duggan, executive director of Environmental Defense Fund Europe, an environmental advocacy group.

"We need to keep focused on keeping people warm this winter, not getting more coal out of the ground."

($1 = 0.8951 pounds)

(Reporting by Gloria Dickie in London; Editing by Mark Potter)