Dr Geoff Wood
Geoffrey Wood (Scotland) graduated with distinction in the MSc Renewable Energy and Environmental Modelling programme from the University of Dundee (School of Engineering, Physics and Mathematics) in 2009. Granted a Centre of Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR) Studentship, Geoffrey completed his PhD in 2013. His dissertation title is: ‘Connecting the dots: A systemic approach to evaluating potential constraints to renewable deployment to 2020 and beyond in the United Kingdom’.
His multi-disciplinary research, spanning law, policy, regulation and technology developed a systemic framework approach to evaluate potential constraints to large-scale renewable electricity technology deployment in the UK with regard to whether or not the UK will achieve the 2020 renewable electricity (RES-E) sectoral target.
His main research interests include energy law, policy and regulation with emphasis on renewable and low carbon energy and transition fuels (natural gas, shale gas), energy and supply technologies, climate change law and policy, energy-social-behavioural-environmental interactions, policy and regulatory design, systems theory, low carbon transitions and sustainable development. His previous academic background also includes biodiversity, ecology, climatology/palaeoclimatology, geography, geology and environmental science.
Geoffrey is a Teaching Fellow at the Law School, University of Stirling where he teaches International Energy Law and Policy and Corporate Social Responsibility. In addition, he is an Associate Staff Member at the School of Geography and a Contributing Lecturer at the Centre for Energy Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) (energy, climate change, sustainability) and the Department for Town and Regional Planning (MSc Marine Spatial Planning), both at the University of Dundee. Geoffrey has also presented at a number of conferences at both the national and international level. Geoffrey has published in peer-reviewed journals, has published a book on renewable energy and provided expert submissions to governmental consultations and UK/Scottish Government inquries. In addition to carrying out consultancy work, Geoffrey won the 2009 Scottish Green Energy Award – Best Student Category based on his MSc thesis.
Featured Research: What lessons can be learned from onshore wind technology deployment for a developing UK shale gas sector? (summary presentation, also shown below as Slideshare)
The United Kingdom Government is pushing for a rapid expansion of shale gas extraction, based on the assumption that it will reduce costly and volatile gas imports and improve energy security, balance of payments and shift current energy use from more polluting coal to gas with resultant climate change benefits. Although the UK has a good record of onshore fossil fuel extraction, exemplified by Wytch Farm in Dorset, the largest onshore oil field in Western Europe and located in a environmentally sensitive landscape in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including national (SSSI’s), European Union (SPA) and international (Ramsar, World Heritage) protected areas, the characteristics of shale gas are quite different. There is the need for significantly more infrastructure for exploration, appraisal and particularly for extraction (wells) along with associated infrastructure (pipelines, storage, access roads). There is also growing public opposition to shale gas on environmental grounds due to fears of water contamination, earthquakes and industrialisation of the rural landscape by large multinational companies.
Summary (Slideshare) presentation below:
Critically, there is little experience of shale gas extraction in the UK and experiences abroad are difficult to translate into the UK context due to differences in mineral rights and environmental legislation amongst other factors. However, there is another energy technology that can offer beneficial lessons to a developing UK shale gas sector and indeed abroad. Despite sitting at the opposite spectrum of energy technologies, there appear to be a number of similarities with the deployment of onshore wind, particularly the requirement of a very large number of installations (turbines contra wells) and associated infrastructure (transmission/distribution cables contra pipelines/storage facilities). Key to delivering ‘deployment’, the shale gas sector urgently needs to address a number of barriers including planning and issues of public participation and engagement to counter opposition. Renewable energy and onshore wind in particular has historically and increasingly continues to struggle to overcome these barriers. As a result, experience from ongoing onshore wind deployment could aid the shale gas sector from avoiding some of the pitfalls that have plagued wind power over two decades. It should be pointed out though that shale gas does not enjoy a number of benefits of wind power and renewables in general, including climate change mitigation.
Keywords: shale gas, onshore wind, planning, public participation and engagement, technology
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