The human, social and economic aspects of a marine renewable energy future

Wednesday, 17 Apr 2019
Doors at 7:30pm, talks start at 8pm
The Golf Tavern, 30-31 Wrights Houses, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, EH10 4HR (

We will host two great presentations about ‘The human, social and economic aspects of a marine renewable energy future’ with a special focus on Orkney.


TALK 1: The multiple economic impacts of renewable energy

The case for renewable energy does not rely only on its contribution to decarbonisation and energy security, but is also argued on the basis of economic impacts at multiple spatial levels. In demonstrating socio-economic impacts however, there is only sparse publicly available data, some of which has limited usefulness. There is therefore a challenge to all involved in the sector to update an economic narrative linking renewable energy technologies and the objectives of government policy in the transition to a low carbon economy.

Dr Grant Allan is a Senior Lecturer in Economics Department at the University of Strathclyde. His main research activities are in the areas of economic modelling, particularly in the area of energy.  He has published widely in this area, including articles on “green jobs” and employment in Scotland and the UK, local and community energy and the potential value of ownership and economic modelling of the impacts of new energy developments. More details on research activities can be found on his University staff page:


TALK 2 – Orkney Islands Saga: Tales from the Marine Energy Edge

Orkney is closer to the Arctic Circle than to London. Surrounded by fierce seas and shrouded by clouds and mist, the islands seem to mark the edge of the known world. And yet they are a centre for energy technology innovation. The islands generate more renewable energy than they use, have a hydrogen fuel network, hundreds of local-owned wind turbines, electric cars, and a decade-old smart grid. The world-leading European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and through it, the global marine energy industry, is entangled in this tale of islands at the innovation edge. Laura Watts is an ‘ethnographer of futures’ who has been collaborating with the islanders for over a decade to support and understand how the energy future is happening here. Her talk will include readings from her new book, ‘Energy at the End of the World: An Orkney Islands Saga’, with an opportunity for discussion.

Dr Laura Watts is a writer, poet, ethnographer of futures, and Senior Lecturer in Energy & Society in Geosciences, University of Edinburgh. As an interdisciplinary scholar, at the intersection of Science & Technology Studies (STS) and Anthropology, her research and writing explores how ‘edge’ landscapes effect the way the future is imagined and made. She has worked with the mobile telecoms industry, tech industry, public transport, but for the past decade she has been working on energy futures in the Orkney, Scotland. Her latest book ‘Energy at the End of the World: an Orkney Islands Saga’ is published by MIT Press. For more see

Image credit:

The featured image for this announcement shows the undersea electricity cable at Hoy, © Laura Watts.



There will be a buffet provided, kindly sponsored by Green Marine (UK) Ltd. Green Marine is a specialised marine contractor, supplying vessels and services to the marine renewable industry. Based in Orkney, it is composed of a highly experienced team of mariners and project engineers, providing safe and cost effective solutions to a wide range of device developers.  Green Marine has unrivalled experience in the wave and tidal energy sector, working with most of the technology developers at EMEC’s sites in Orkney and also clients in the UK and beyond.  Website:


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