Scotland’s relationship with energy generation and related technologies is one fraught with human drama and political struggles. Miles Oglethorpe’s recent two part blog underlined the international significance of Scotland’s diverse energy history and the importance of preserving it. In this post I add to Miles’ important contribution by assessing how energy figures in our understanding of Scotland’s modern history.
Nuclear energy is almost universally feared and reviled, and not without reason. And yet, China has doubled its nuclear capacity since 2014, climate scientists have called for an increase in nuclear power, while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identifies increased production of nuclear energy as a key element in avoiding global warning. Why is such an obviously dangerous and polluting energy source considered an important element of the green energy transition?
For Sweden, with its extensive forest cover, the bioenergy industry has the potential to become one of the most important industries moving forward. Whilst Swedish forestry is considered particularly sustainable – it is problematic to rely on this fragile ecosystem for all future energy needs. A heightened demand for forest derived products can put excessive pressure not only on the climate and local ecosystems, but also on the people to whom the forests bear a particular significance.