#Dunbar – Christmas lights and sightings of the energy system

I love energy policy. But I do miss the way in which when I worked on public transport policy, every time you turned a corner there was something to notice, an unusual bus stop or a simplified pricing system. This weekend I’m in Dunbar in southeast Scotland and it seems for some reason as if every time I turn a corner, there’s something to notice that’s to do with energy.

Christmas lights Dunbar high street 1216 energy Torness.JPG

We came in at the train station and walked down the high street. The Christmas lights are up, they look great and one set declares, “Seasons greetings from all at Torness”.

energy Torness nuclear power plant SE Scotland 1216.JPG

Torness is the local nuclear power plant – you pass it as you come into the town from the south.


A trade union, Unite, even has its own set of Torness lights.

energy wind turbine van Rocks Dunbar 1216.JPG

It’s not all nuclear. Outside the (wonderful) Rocks hotel is parked up a van from a wind power company. It has Hamburg plates.

energy cement factory Dunbar 1216.JPG

Just south of town there is a cement works that used to be all coal but now, according to its website, uses 40% recycled fuels. I imagine the ETS is one of the reasons for this, though it is not mentioned.

ship on horizon from Rocks Dunbar 1216.JPG

I like to think the ships lingering offshore are tankers waiting to go up the Firth of Forth to the refinery at Grangemouth.

I haven’t noticed anything specifically about energy efficiency. But I heard about a building company that works mostly for local social housing bodies, doing adaptations for people with disabilities. If someone wants a similar adaptation in a private house (even if they are not eligible for a grant), this is the company that is recommended. It sounds as if the public sector has created a market for a building company with a particular specialism, which then provides cost-effective renovations also to private owners. If that’s so, it would be interesting to see how the model could be extended to renovation for efficiency.



Mathias Enard; Newcastle station

Newcastle station on the way to Scotland, a few hours ago. I look out of the open train door at the rainy platform as they split up the two trains that have brought us from York.

rain Newcastle station 1216.JPG

We change direction, like you do at Luxembourg city station. I’m starting Zone by Mathias Enard, a book which starts on board a train:

everything flees everything is more difficult these days along rail lines I’d like to let myself be led simply from one place to another as is logical for a passenger like a blind man led by the arm when he crosses a dangerous street but I’m just going from Paris to Rome, and to the main train station in Milan, to that Temple of Akhenaton for locomotives where a few traces of snow remain despite the rain I turn round and round, I look at the immense Egyptian columns supporting the ceiling, I have a little drink out of boredom, at a café overlooking the tracks the way others overlook the sea, it doesn’t do me any good it wasn’t the time for libations

I’m not sure yet what I think about the book. It seems to have something to do with Ulysses, which I finished eventually on the third attempt – but to be more abordable.

As I type out the quote, the elderly couple across the aisle change seats so she can keep travelling forward.