December roundup – the energy ghosts of Christmases past, present and future?

Turbines in the Aberdeenshire countryside.
Turbines in the Aberdeenshire countryside.

Last chance to sneak a post in before 2015! December was a busy end to the year, with a visit to France at the start of the month to talk about the social dimensions of CCS at the CTSC International Seminar at the Paris School of Mines – also a fantastic opportunity to learn about other CCS-related topics including enhanced oil recovery in the United States, the progress of the storage trials at Hontomin in Spain, and the CCS landscape in Saskatchewan. Then it was on to Germany to speak about risk and governance in Iwaki fisheries at a workshop on Epistemologies of Water in Asia, hosted by the Cluster for Excellence: Asia and Europe in a Global Context at the University of Heidelberg. Other contributions at the workshop spanned the entire Asian continent, from Kyrgyzstan to China to India – yet within all this difference was a great deal of commonality and discussion on how water can be known, by whom and to what purpose.

December also saw the end of my first full semester of teaching, marked with an afternoon taking our MSc Corporate Social Responsibility and Energy students to Udny Community Wind Turbine (see above image). This proved to be a fascinating, informative and highly motivating outing, during which we were kindly hosted by the team at Udny Community Trust. I would like to devote a full post next month to do the visit the justice it deserves, so for now you’ll have to be content with the image of my students admiring the sunset under big Aberdeenshire skies.

I wasn’t even able to switch off during the Christmas visit back to my family home on the Black Isle. The Cromarty Firth was filled with oil and gas installations, either having just been fabricated or being dragged back ashore for decommissioning. When I left Aberdeen for the holidays, concern over how plummeting oil prices would affect the city’s industry and economy was starting to set in. The oil rigs in the Firth have been there for as long as I can remember (see the Sheenagh Harrison cards I bought in Cromarty below), and the effects on the north-east of Scotland if/when oil and gas disappear will be profound. Decommissioning and the future of the North Sea is something I’ve touched on in the CCS research I’ve been involved in, but is something I shall be looking at a lot more closely in 2015.

In amongst all that, a paper I lead-authored on the social dimensions of the QICS CO2 release finally broke cover at the end of the month in the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control. As always, if you don’t have access then please get in touch and I will sort something out.

8.30pm on New Year’s Eve is no time to be working, so with that I shall log off and return  in a week or so to go into more depth on some of the things I touched on above.

Sheenagh Harrison cards depicting fabricated oil infrastructure moving through the Cromarty Firth.
Sheenagh Harrison cards depicting fabricated oil infrastructure moving through the Cromarty Firth.

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