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"Limits of Power: Wind energy, Orkney, and the postwar British state" - 44t...

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Swift Theatre,

Arts Building

Trinity College Dublin

Dublin

Ireland

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The 44th public meeting of the Irish Environmental History Network will take place on the 21st of November 2018 in the Swift Theatre of the Arts Building TCD and will take place from 6-8pm. It will feature a guest lecture given by Marianna Dudley of the University of Bristol. This lecture will be entitled "Limits of Power: Wind energy, Orkney, and the postwar British state". This event is free and open to the public!

Abstract:

Low- or no-carbon energy solutions are a cornerstone of global green politics, and renewable energy increasingly contributes to public supply. However, historical work on the topic is surprisingly thin, particularly in Britain. This paper seeks to redress this. It presents new research on early experiments in wind energy as a public electricity source in the Orkney islands.

Here, on the geographical periphery, Britain’s first wind turbine generating electricity for public supply was tested in 1951. The paper situates the experiments by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board in the context of the postwar Labour government programme of industrial nationalization. It explores the connections between environmental and ideological factors in the expansion, and limits to, electricity provision in the 1940s and 50s, and probes the role of geography in creating conditions for experimentation, on the edge of the nation. Did distance from central government enable, rather than hinder, localised energy solutions? What was the legacy of these early experiments, locally and nationally? Why did the British government turn away from wind at a crucial moment in energy history?

About:

Marianna Dudley is an environmental historian at the University of Bristol. Her research spans the rise of military environmentalism (Environmental History of the UK Defence Estate, 1945-present; Continuum, 2012), rivers, and most recently winds and waves as energetic and historical forces. She co-leads the Bristol Centre for Environmental Humanities.

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Swift Theatre,

Arts Building

Trinity College Dublin

Dublin

Ireland

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