Deadline for scholarships extended to July 15 2017

DONG Energy are offering a number of scholarships for outstanding UK students who will be starting the MSc Energy and Society or MSc New and Renewable Energy courses in October 2017. The scholarships will have a value of up to £6,000.

This is a unique opportunity as these scholarships are only available to UK students who wish to study on these courses at Durham University.

The deadline for DONG scholarship applications is 15th July 2017. Find out more at https://www.durham.ac.uk/dei/funding/dongenergybursaries/

Funding to join exciting new European project – PEOPLE-centred development approaches

A new EU Erasmus+ project will bring an opportunity for four Masters students to join students and energy academics from Slovenia, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic (Czechia) to work on people-centered development. The project is embedded into the compulsory Field Study module for the MSc Energy and Society course; the selected students will take this module as a 30 credit module. They will be awarded mobility funding to work in collaboration with a UK company, Kemuri Ltd to help develop user friendly elements within the company’s current products and services.

Apply now to the MSc Energy and Society course to join this exciting new initiative! Find out more at PEOPLE project funding.

A research report from Orkney

This summer, Michael Westrom traveled to beautiful Orkney, Scotland for five weeks to study the local experience of governance that accompanies the transition to decentralized community renewable energy. Orkney is a collection of islands north of the mainland of Scotland that generates over 100% of its electricity from renewable sources, most of which comes from community-owned wind turbines. Mike’s findings will be written up for his MSc dissertation.

Here he tells us more about what he found:

For three of the five weeks, I lived on the small island of Shapinsay, home to about 300 residents. The Shapinsay Development Trust (SDT) is a community charity group that owns and manages a 900 kW wind turbine (see photos below of the turbine and SDT). Aside from earning revenue by exporting the electricity on to the grid, the SDT is a part of a 10 million Euro funded project to convert some of the electricity that would otherwise be curtailed (due to grid restraints) into a hydrogen fuel. Orkney Islands Council (OIC) has agreed to purchase the fuel to power a fleet of council vehicles, to heat the Shapinsay primary school, and eventually to power ferries, adding more revenue to the community.

I studied how both the revenue from the wind turbine benefits scheme and the partial ownership over the production and distribution over hydrogen fuel has empowered the SDT charity and changed local governance. Now the SDT charity, headed by a small group of residents, has a new and strong influence over island policy, provisioning of social resources, and even transport relative to the local council government, as related to their control over the renewable energy facility.

 

EAGA grants now offered

http://www.eagacharitabletrust.org/grants-offered

Eaga Charitable Trust invites applications for its postgraduate bursary awards. These encourage graduate students to research and write dissertations related to the causes and impacts of, and solutions to, fuel poverty issues in the EU. The subject of research needs to demonstrate direct relevance and application to UK fuel poverty policy.
Current master’s students and those with a confirmed place on a master’s course during the next academic year are eligible to apply as are PhD students in the second or third year of study. All applicants should be based in the EU.
A maximum of three bursaries worth £2,000 are available.

Energy and Tango?

A blogpost from Silvina Zublena, Environmental Engineer from Buenos Aires, Argentina

tangoIn my recent visit to Durham University I attended the Energy, Society and Practices Intensive course, which was organized by Durham´s Energy Institute. Surprisingly, after the final lecture was over I could only think about one thing and that’s TANGO!

TANGO is a partner type of dance, very typical in Argentina, the country where I come from. In order to dance tango, two dancers have to synchronize their movements in a close embrace to move from point A to point B.

This certainly reminded me of Energy Practices and the Social Contexts and how, just like TANGO dancers, these two should be articulated together towards a better understanding of energy use and consequently allowing to find solutions for energy-related issues.

The thread that united all the dissertations within the program was the need to link these two worlds, for there is no energy project that can be reliable, sustainable or successful by only paying attention to the technical and financial aspects of it, rather than also including the culture, habits, location or even the geography of the society that is going to embrace it.

We learnt through the course that this argument could be as applicable to a small scale program such as a rural biogas digester in Nepal as to a large scale energy grid transition to wind in the European Union.

I would definitely like to participate in more courses like this coming forward, not only to be able to hear such a wonderful selection of lecturers on the most diverse Energy related analysis but also to share experiences and inputs with other fellow students coming from all sorts of backgrounds, just like I did this time. What a wonderful and nourishing experience it has been!

One final thought: Energy Use and Sustainability; Social practices and Resource use; Engineers and Anthropologists. I certainly think these would be some interesting dancing partners worth to watch in the near future. After all, it takes 2 to TANGO!

Where are they now? An occasional series on MSc graduates. 1. Luke Garrett

Luke was one of the first students to join the MSc Energy and Society. Here, he tells us a little about his subsequent career at NEA:

Class of 2013

Class of 2013

“I joined National Energy Action, the UK’s leading fuel poverty charity, as a Research Assistant two months after finishing the MSc Energy and Society course in 2014.

My dissertation focused on how microgeneration technologies (solar photovoltaics and air source heat pumps) might be used in the social housing sector to help alleviate fuel poverty. The research was a great focal point for me to refer to throughout my interview for the position at NEA.

Initially, I was involved with projects such as the evaluation of the npower Fuel Bank™ – which involves giving food bank service users a fuel voucher for their prepayment meter when they receive a food parcel. I was also involved in a socio-technical appraisal of multi-storey buildings in Newcastle in order to identify how these structures might be made more sustainable, and improve the quality of life for residents as a result.

In July 2016 I was promoted to Research and Policy Officer here at NEA, and my first lead project is the evaluation of a National Grid Gas Network pilot scheme which aims to ensure vulnerable households are reconnected to their gas supply (following the disconnection of a condemned gas appliance) as quickly as possible. This project is still in the early stages and evaluation is yet to start.”

A Socio-Technical Turbine

 

Inspecting the archimedes screw turbine at Freeman’s Reach

In bright sunshine today, we visited the hydro-electric turbine at Freeman’s Reach in central Durham. Students who have recently completed the course met new students, and we had a good look at the turbine.

 

img_2369

site-visit in 2014

Things have certainly moved on since MSc students visited the site in 2014, when construction was in full flow. Then we saw the concrete channels being constructed and heard about the building of the ‘bat hotel’ under the site. Today the turbine is installed and commissioned, but a dry summer meant there was no action for us to see. We’ll look forward to coming back another day.

discussing turbines!

We an also look forward to the students taking over the blog very soon!