Executive Summary – antr

Energy production is a contested field. With Oil and Gas companies defending their fossil sources, which however are devastating the planet, so it is not sustainable. It is imperative for policy makers and environmental activists to convince the public of more sustainable methods of production. Changing the public’s minds is a door-opener in democracies, because ultimately only they can create the pressures necessary for long-term change. This is why we are proposing additional alternative methods of persuading people to rethink energy productions.

Renewable Energy has in recent years become a central part of our all lives. This might surprise, since renewable energy statistically covers only a fraction of the global energy production, with oil, coal and gas still dominating. With man made climate change already in effect, scientists, environmentalists, governments and wide ranges of the public and private in the West alike have come to the conclusion, that something has to be changed. The direction hereby is quite clear: Sustainable, renewable energy is the only alternative. But there is also the political obstacle, in that policy is the only way forward, putting political problems at the core of the issue of change.

Research is predominantly centred in the European Union, the UK and the United States, who constitute major players in researching and testing new technologies, and in educating the public through campaigns. This is also a very competitive market, with many projects running at the same time, start ups appearing and vanish again, ideas pop up, prototypes tested, and sometimes successes achieved, while in some cases those innovations get forgotten.

With actual change depending on the perception of the people, tackling negative associations with renewable energy is part of this endeavour. Researchers face the question of how to redefine the public’s understanding of the infrastructures that support our lives. Renewable energy infrastructures often appear vastly different from conventional energy infrastructures. Wind turbines and solar panels occupy landscapes, sometimes only slightly, while sometimes jarring. However those new infrastructures seem foreign to people’s collective perception. They are ‘alien’ in the sense that they are unfamiliar, new and strange to us. This can lead to misconceptions and negative attitudes, that policy makers have to target.

Examples of how do we sway the public opinion then towards appreciating the importance of considering the role of renewable energy are constantly being developed. Watts and Winthereik employ a new approach: They envisioned the “Energy Walk”, a journey throughout a Danish coastal village accompanied by a walking stick and a set of headphones. One journeys through infrastructure whilst listening to the audio recordings played the equipment explaining ones surroundings and shedding light onto the invisible or alien. This is framed as an aesthetic experience: it asks the participant consider various things they encounter related to energy and infrastructures along the way, and to consider their past, future and alternatives.

On the other hand, neglected projects on the islands of Orkney serves as warning to forgetting existing infrastructure and technology. As Watts writes on her blog, Orkney, an Island-chain at the North east end of Scotland, has in the last couple of years been a hub for research and development of water and wind energy projects alike. While it’s rough, windy and wavy climate supports the creation of energy, sadly Orkneys electricity grid is separate from that of the mainland. This means energy created on the lies stays trapped there.

There is another factor of waste at play here. It is necessary to remember the strides that have been made in renewable energy technologies. Orkney has served as a testing site for smart grid technology research for almost a decade. Despite that, the UK National Infrastructure Commission proposes the development and linking of technologies abroad, that already have been prototyped at Orkney. Instead of consigning “old” technologies to oblivion, it would be more sensible to build on top of them. In order to stay efficient one should not overlook prior investments and successes.

The reason these projects are being neglected again is lacking public awareness. With more consciousness towards these, the UK Government would be reminded to include those. This is one of the reasons, that Watts and others released a poetic book called ‘ebban an’ flowan’, that thematises Orkney and it’s projects.

As demonstrated above, changing public perception of renewable energy, and it’s visible counterparts, the infrastructure is necessary to enable policy changes that favour renewable energy technologies. This usually leads to educational campaigns, and other integrations of ‘renewable energy’ as topic into the everyday life of citizens, but artistic works like exhibitions and books can also do their part, and their effect on the public should not be underestimated.


“Blogger warns Britain:
Don’t forget your Energy Technology Frontier in Orkney! ” by antr (Anthony Triggs)

Blogger warns Britain:
Don’t forget your Energy Technology Frontier in Orkney!

Anthony Triggs – antr@itu.dk

The Orkney Islands are serving as Britains hub for Energy technology, science and innovation. Laura Watts warns in a blog article, that the UK National Infrastructure Commission newest report is neglecting Orkney in favour of technologies abroad, putting the British Energy Future at a disadvantage.

Laura Watts and a team of writers are going to launching a poetic work titled “ebban an’ flowan”, commenting on marine renewable energy in Orkney this week. As part of her trip she released a blog post in response to the UK National Infrastructure Commission’s vision for the future of the electricity. In this report the Commission proposed among other things to connect the British electricity grid to sources in Norway and Iceland, in order to establish exchange of energy and technologies abroad.

Reflecting upon these goals outlined in the report, Mrs. Watts reminds the Commission of range projects conducted on the island of Orkney, one of which started in 1950’s. Alongside mentioning different energy technologies on the Island, she also remarks on how the electricity won on Orkney is trapped on the island, since there are now power relays to the rest of the British Isles.
She sees Orkney, full of renewable energy and electricity powered vehicles as Britains potential “energy future”, but on the other hand also warns of the danger of forgetting the island and all it’s achievements while focussing solely on technologies abroad.

Laura Watts is a professor at the IT University in Copenahagen. This press release is based on a blog post, that she posted to http://www.emec.org.uk/smart-power-flows-at-the-island-edge/ on Thursday, March 24, 2016.
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antritu – [Anthony’s Peer Review]

<text 2 v. 2.0>
> [17.02.2017](Peer critique) <this text is formated in sublime text ‘Monokai extended’-scheme. As a piece of feedback, I really dislike character limits. :/


# Summary
‘The Energy Walk’ is a practiced method by Line Marie Thorsen, describing her approach to write narrative scientific tests, while integrating John Dewey’s ‘aesthetic philosophy’. The Text introduces methods and theories, but also provides examples of content of the actual walk.
<points of critique>
This text is covering a wide range of topics, of which few lie withing my competencies. So take this critique with a grain of salt.

_1. example_
> “In this paper I argue, that the walk manoeuvres a layered landscape of energetic and infrastructural visibility and invisibility, hereby sensitizing the participant to the manifold energy forms constantly present in our daily lives.”

_1. explanation_ Structure: Little focus.
The texts structure left me a bit confused about where this text what the ultimate aim was. Introducing the method, she covers a wide theoretical ground, and she seemingly attempts to apologize at end of the text for this. She then continues to give us a chronological overview of the walk, while explaining some of the methods. Explaining theory at the end and referencing even more texts, overall the structure felt very strange, and weary to read.
_2. example_ Name Dropping: refer to “Aesthetic Method?”
_2. explanation_ The author is naming too many theories and authors. This can be helpful for further research, but there is confusingly little explanation. This fact becomes apparent in contrast to the first two sections, the introduction and ‘The Energy Walk’, which she mostly manages without referencing. Especially as someone, who is not from that field, these references create more questions than answers.
_3. example_ All the titles and their format:
“Abstract – [Introducton] – The Energy Walk – (In)Visible Energy and Infrastructures – Aesthetic Method?”
_3. explanation:_ This critique is very specific. The paper’s overall structure, quoted above, becomes difficult to understand, examining where the different between “The Energy Walk” and “(In)Visible Energy and Infrastructures” lies. I would thus combine those. The Format is also a mess: While “Introduction” doesnt exist as title, “Abstract” and the other three sections are formatted differently. I’d suggest a uniform title format.