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Pushing the limits of wind power

The image shows a windfarm on Novar Estate, North of Inverness. Credit: Charles Warren.

Key issues on the future of wind power will be addressed in a high-profile seminar at the University of St Andrews today.

The seminar “Pushing the limits of wind power” will bring international experts together with the Scottish Government’s Head of Renewable Energy Sue Kearns to debate the hot topic.

The fifth and final seminar in the ESRC-sponsored series “Where next for wind?” will be held by the University’s School of Geography & Geosciences in Parliament Hall on 6 May 2009.

Organiser Dr Charles Warren explained, “This deliberately provocatively titled seminar looks beyond abstract assessments of the ‘technical potential’ for wind, to explore key issues shaping the future for this technology.

“For example, how might an expanded role for wind fit into corporate strategies?  How might it fit with other agendas for sustainable communities, in urban and rural areas?  How can the expansion of renewable energy be reconciled with electricity networks?  And how can modern democracies deliberate effectively the relative merits of wind, nuclear, tidal and wave power in future energy mixes?”

The seminar series aims to drive forward the critical investigation of the factors affecting the deployment of wind power in countries throughout Europe applying social science analysis to explain national and regional variations in wind power use.

Dr Warren continued, “Across Europe, there is near-universal political consensus on the need for rapid expansion of renewable energy, if the challenges of climate change and ‘peak oil’ are to be met. Yet despite this apparent urgency, there is great variation in the extent to which national governments have been able to orchestrate the required energy transition.

“This is especially clear in the case of wind power. Despite being widely favoured as the most economically and technically feasible route to low-carbon electricity, the expansion of wind power has been profoundly uneven across Europe.”

Designed to foster better understanding, this series brings together leading figures in wind and renewable energy debates from academia, policy and business, from both the UK and overseas.  Each seminar is attended by an invited audience of approximately thirty people.

The forum connects social science researchers working on wind energy and other renewable sectors, in a range of different disciplines, to assess key analytical questions.

The collaborative initiative is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council and Scottish and Southern Energy.

ENDS

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:
IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 467227, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: fa12@st-andrews.ac.uk
Ref:  wind power 06/05/09
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