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Accepted Paper:

A Post-Coalonial Gift: Heated Mine Water in County Durham  
Chima Michael Anyadike-Danes (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation examines geothermal mine energy's development as a resource in non-metropolitan County Durham. Specifically, it discusses the various ways in which it is envisaged that the county's residents might access it.

Paper long abstract:

It is three decades since coal was mined in County Durham. By contrast, in the early 20th century many tonnes of coal were won annually. Moreover, at the industry's height close to one hundred and seventy thousand men worked for the collieries as miners.

Evidence of coal mining's profound impact on the region is to be found not just in the toponyms of places, the landscape, or the region's dialect, but in the plans that are now being made for the mines themselves. The Coal Authority currently manages Britain's shuttered mines overseeing everything from remediation to ensuring that mine water does not contaminate aquifers. However, in the last decade or so members of this organisation have come to realise that warm mine water might be a potentially valuable source of thermal energy.

A sizeable minority of people in the United Kingdom suffer from fuel poverty and analysts predict that due to the current energy crisis this will only worsen. The Coal Authority believes that with twenty-five per cent of homes lying above former coal mines geothermal mine energy might provide a solution, while also decarbonising heat. Several developments in County Durham have been explored as potential test sites and a number of county residents have had the technology explained to them as something that could be a treasure or a gift because of its ability to reduce heating costs. In this presentation, I explore the role that practices of commoning or decommoning might play in creating such a system.

Panel P043a
Commoning-decommoning dynamics in climate and energy politics [Energy Anthropology Network] I
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -