The Energy Blog

Welcome to The Energy Blog, the CEE’s online forum for all things energy! Launched in 2020, the Blog is an open and interdisciplinary space featuring short reflection pieces informed by the latest energy research from the Centre and beyond. We explore key energy issues of contemporary relevance: from legacies of energy industries to the future of nuclear power, from the politics of gas infrastructures to the potential of hydrogen. Our contributors include geographers, historians, social anthropologists, ecologists, physicists, and even astronomers. We are always keen to hear from new contributors, so if you have an idea to pitch, please write to us at [email protected].

From the Roots Up: A Summer of Research on the St Andrews Forest  

From the Roots Up: A Summer of Research on the St Andrews Forest  

by Victoria Lee

With concrete goals and a focus on community planning, the St Andrews Forest is shaping up to be a great climate action initiative. But one vital next step in its development is identifying specific data that need to be collected from forest locations in order to quantify progress towards its goals of carbon sequestration, supporting biodiversity, and ecosystem services. Through the University’s 2022 Summer Teams Enterprise Programme (STEP), a team of seven St Andrews undergraduate students from across degree programmes and with diverse backgrounds were brought together to create a draft protocol for assessing the benefits of the Forest programme.

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Natural Gas in the UK, Part 2: Potential Winter Blackouts and the Grid

Natural Gas in the UK, Part 2: Potential Winter Blackouts and the Grid

by Sean Field

In Part 2 of this series, Dr Field explains how the UK’s energy crisis is a dual predicament: an energy price crisis, and an energy supply crisis. The UK’s electrical grid is balanced on the wholesale market for natural gas; as wholesale prices rise, people are pushed into energy poverty. Building on Part 1, he demonstrates how natural gas dependency and insufficient UK natural gas storage capacities are threatening electricity blackouts this winter (as well as a crisis of heating), concluding that this crisis was foreseeable and avoidable.

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Energy Harvesting, Internet of Things and Sustainability: A Fascinating Trio

Energy Harvesting, Internet of Things and Sustainability: A Fascinating Trio

by Lethy Krishnan Jagadamma

The energy trilemma describes the difficulty in achieving a coherent balance of clean, affordable, and secure energy. Improvements in one factor in the triangle distorts the other components. In this blog post, I explore how ‘smart technologies’, connected by the internet and powered by new ambient energy harvesting devices, can be vital to overcoming the energy trilemma and to achieving energy sustainability.

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What now? Reflections from a climate activist on COP26

What now? Reflections from a climate activist on COP26

by Léa Weimann

The COP26 has been a much-anticipated conference coined as humanity’s “last best chance” to limit global warming to 1.5°C and keep the ambition of the Paris Agreement alive. It has been five years since the Paris Agreement. Climate-Change-related weather events and impacts around the world are accelerating in frequency and severity. The global trajectory of CO2 emissions continues to be on the rise and so is climate anxiety, especially in young people and fellow activists such as myself.

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Sustainable energy security, in whose interest? The case of Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sustainable energy security, in whose interest? The case of Democratic Republic of Congo.

by Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood and Rukonge Sospeter Muhongo

Climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives have driven up demand for rare minerals. Over 3 billion tons of rare minerals will be needed to achieve the global goal of reducing emissions to net-zero. A key site of extraction of these minerals is Sub-Saharan Africa. Will these regions acquire a share in this mineral boom or will the historical exploitation of these communities continue under the guise of supporting the ‘Green Transition’?

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The Flame Towers of Baku: new building, old symbol?

The Flame Towers of Baku: new building, old symbol?

by Leyla Sayfutdinova and Turning oil into stone: oil legacies in the narratives of urban continuity and change in Baku, Azerbaijan

Since their construction in 2013, debates on whether the Flame Towers are ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’, whether they deserve to be a symbol of Baku or not, whether they are intended for ‘tourists’ or the ‘locals’ have been ongoing. This post places the towers within the context of Baku and Azerbaijan’s local and national identities, exploring the importance of fire imagery and the modern connection of these ideas to the oil industry.

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Natural Gas in the UK, Part 1: Infrastructures & Geopolitics

Natural Gas in the UK, Part 1: Infrastructures & Geopolitics

by Sean Field

In this blog post series, I examine the UK’s natural gas infrastructure, the market dynamics behind rising global natural gas prices, and who will be affected the most by Ofgem’s rate increase. In this part one, I show how the deregulation and financialization of UK natural gas over the last couple of decades has exposed UK consumers to the geopolitics of natural gas pipelines and fluctuations in financial market prices for natural gas. 

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Putting Energy at the Centre of Scotland’s History

Putting Energy at the Centre of Scotland’s History

by Ewan Gibbs

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.

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