Falkirk Wheel, Panoramic view.

Falkirk Wheel, Panoramic view.
Image by Cameron Lyall, GNU license Wikimedia

11 July 2011

Aberdeen: Energy Capitol of Europe (And also really pretty)

I choose Aberdeen as a whole for my postindustrial site. After doing some research I found the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG). This group is dedicated to championing renewable energy sources (interesting side note: Iain Todd is known as the group’s Champion, not president. To me, it’s an interesting rhetorical distinction).

As with Dundee’s jute industry, the skill sets of the workers had to be shifted after the collapse of the industry. AREG believes that oil reserves are not limitless and that offshore oil companies are in a unique position to shift their focus from oil to renewables. These companies have experience and the tools to develop undersea installations as well as platform based offshore wind parks. To here more what the Champion has to say I suggest watching this video.

Aberdeen as a place has a history with energy. The city has a long history with oil and gas after the discovery of oil reserves in the North Sea. Many energy companies are based out of Aberdeen and according to AREG’s website the city has been recognized as the Energy Capitol of Europe (http://www.aberdeenrenewables.com/about-aberdeen/).

Dr. Salt had mentioned the relationship between oil and gas companies are very different in Aberdeen than they are in the States. Instead of large ostentatious buildings the companies run out of smaller storefronts. Unfortunately, my contact there had to reschedule, so I was unable to verify her claim (I trust you Dr. Salt! I’m just trying to be a good researcher!)This statement is something I hope to investigate further on our class follow up trip in a week.

Aberdeen as a location is also fairly accessible. It is one of the largest northern cities in the world. It has a busy harbor with large ships frequently stopping. It is also a rain hub, the last stop on many lines running north and the last large city before Inverness. There are cultural sites to see as well. His Majesty’s Theatre, the art Museum, and Belmont Street are locations worth visiting. The city can also boast one of Europe’s ancient universities, the University of Aberdeen which was founded in 1495.

The university is also getting behind the Renewables push. There are new renewable energy degree tracks and different advocacy programs. This willingness to change focus in degree paths from the university is indicative in a community wide change of focus. The community has to decide somehow to shift its value system to accept changes to everyday life that may (or have to) come with a change in sources of energy.

Aberdeen as a city has a rich history that is being mobilized to effect change for the future. As a postindustrial site, it has an industrial energy workforce that is being persuaded to shift its focus to a different, renewable form of energy collection. It shares similarities with Dundee, but is capitalizing in the postindustrial sphere in its own unique way.

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