Best Wishes for 2013 and news of two great meetings about alternative Nordic ways of dealing with some of the problems Scotland also faces – energy policy, community development, is small or large beautiful in economic development, democracy, inclusion and letting bad banks go bust! Do come along – the meetings are free and currently there are 25 spare seats in the parliament for the fabulous Soren Hermansen and 50 seats for the newly advertised Icelandic event at the university. Please book as described below via Facebook or the Nordic Horizons email and check the website www.nordichorizons.org for more details.
The Great Green Danes
Scottish Parliament Committee Room One - Wednesday 16 January - 18:00 to 20:00
What size is the right size for renewable energy? Scotland's fast becoming a European hub for large-scale renewable energy production using the "Big is Beautiful" template that guided expansion in the oil and gas industries several decades back. Wave and tidal projects are being encouraged to find the same "large" scale. Energy is a policy area reserved to Westminster but Holyrood's planning control gives Edinburgh considerable clout. Community land buyouts mean more and more land is under into local control across Scotland and
particularly in the energy rich Western Isles. So how far should wind-rich communities expand renewables, particularly large-scale wind? Is large and company-owned or small and community owned the way forward - or both? Are developments on the scale of Shetland's Viking wind project too big or the right size to fund expensive connections to the UK grid? Danish Soren Hermansen is one of Time Life's Heroes of the Environment 2008. In 1997 the small, tight-knit, conservative, farming island of Samso, nestled in the Kattegat Strait, won a contest sponsored by the Danish Government to become Denmark's showcase for sustainable power, eventually going carbon-free without any state funding, tax breaks or technical expertise.Then almost all Samso's power came from oil and coal and the island's 4,300 residents didn't know a wind turbine from a grain silo -- Samso seemed an odd choice. Soren Hermansen, though, saw an opportunity. Today Samso isn't just carbon-neutral — it produces 10% more clean electricity than it uses, and feeds extra power back into the grid at a profit. How did Samso do it – how did islanders make sure control didn't shift to big multi-national energy firms -- what lessons are there for communities across Scotland?Labour's Jenny Marra MSP (pioneer of the Switchtogether scheme) will host the event. Book free seats by "joining" on Facebook or email NH via firstname.lastname@example.org
Iceland Bounces Back
Feb 13, 2013, 6-8pm, Edinburgh University, Old College, Lecture Theatre 183
In March 2012 a packed Nordic Horizons meeting heard a fascinating talk from Icelandic Economist,Thorvaldur Gylfason – the most voted-for member of the Icelandic Constitutional Council which drafted the country's new "crowd-sourced" constitution. Since then Icelanders have been to the polls in a six question referendum to approve it and Iceland has clawed its way back to BBB+ credit rating and a projected 2.3% growth rate after opting to let "bad banks" go to the wall (in contrast to the UK and Ireland.)
They've also paid back Scottish councils and investors. It seems this Nordic nation of 300,000+ people is making (yet another) comeback. So will they join the EU?Has the People's Constitution passed its final political hurdle? Is bank regulation now tight enough to ensure crisis can never undermine the whole country again? And what prompted Icelandic President Olafur Grimsson to end 2012 with a BBC interview backing the prospect of Scottish independence? Prof Thor joins us for an Icelandic update together with Sigrun Davidsdottir - a London-based journalist working for the Icelandic State Broadcaster Rúv whose blog, Icelog, explores the financial "adventures" of her home. She's also published her second novel - Samhengi hlutanna, a financial thriller that takes place in London and Iceland.The event will be introduced by Independent MSP Jean Urquhart and chaired by journalist and Nordic Horizons Chair, Lesley Riddoch. Book free seats on the NH Facebook page or email Dan at email@example.com.
For both events please assume you have a seat unless we get in touch. Please also note it's in lecture theatre 183, not our usual 175 – in the other corner of Old College quad. General info and updates on speakers will be posted on our Facebook page and website www.nordichorizons.org Please keep checking rather than sending individual emails about the event – NH is a small, self-administering, volunteer-based group with a rather ambitious list of new meetings to arrange. Thank you! Happy new year from the NH team!