CfP POLLEN20 – Renewable Energies and Agrarian Change: Contestations over Low Carbon Investments*

Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN20)
Brighton, United Kingdom
24-26 June 2020

*This session is part of ‘Conversations between political ecology and critical agrarian studies’, a series of six linked sessions that will explore complementarities and tensions between political ecology and critical agrarian studies in relation to land, energy, environment and nature, degrowth, green economies and agrarian struggles and agrarian and environmental movements. 

Session organizer

Gerardo A. Torres Contreras (Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex). Please send abstracts of 250 words of less to g.torrescontreras@ids.ac.uk no later than November22nd.

Session description

Renewable Energies are expected to play a significant role in the energetic transition towards the development of greener energy production systems. Climate change mitigation investments are supposed to reduce environmental degradations related to fossil fuels, ensure energy security and to foster both economic and social development. However, these transitions have to be situated in the local time and space.

With this in mind, little attention has been put to the role renewable energies play out in land dynamics and land use change because of the ‘materialities’ of these projects. Only in wind energy projects, for instance, infrastructure only occupies between 5 to 7 percent of the total extension of land required for a project. This means that not only the land within the wind farm projects remains productive while windmills harvest energy but that also we assist to processes of agrarian change resulting from these new land dynamics.

The energetic transition, in this sense, draws attention to the need for land and the pressures that such spatial requirement exert on rural lands and people by displacing or hindering existing or alternative land uses (Huber and McCarthy, 2017, p. 11). In this sense, it is worth exploring the following questions:

  • How do politics around renewable energies interact with land dynamics?
  • How do they foster or undermine patterns of accumulation within and across host communities?
  • How are these dynamics associated with processes of class formation and social differentiation?
  • How are they modifying local relations of production?

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