Bigger turbine, lesser impact? Acoustics, environmental impact assessment, and the global offshore wind network in Taiwan

Authors: Ker-Hsuan Chien*,
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Resources, Energy
Keywords: GPN, knowledge transfer, offshore wind power, resource geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: 8201, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In recent years, research on GPNs has contributed to the discussion on resource geography in many ways. While the quality and distribution of natural resources were considered influential to the configuration of GPNs, firms’ strategies for transforming resources into commodities were also argued as crucial in the formation of GPNs. Focusing on firms’ strategies in managing the impact of non-humans on GPN, this paper delineates how firms produce, transfer, and translate knowledge to reshape production networks. This paper therefore employs the case of Taiwan’s offshore wind power development to demonstrate how local firms reconfigure the production network. Given that Taiwan’s offshore wind projects were expected to spread out in Taiwan Strait, which the critically endangered Taiwanese Humpback Dolphins inhabit, all offshore wind projects were urged to be assessed through the environmental impact assessment (EIA) conducted by the Environmental Protection Administration. Local consulting firms therefore introduced new technical guidance, reorienting the concerns for the endangered marine mammal toward the demand for new designs for underwater construction and employing larger but fewer turbines in offshore wind projects. This work contributes to the current discussion on GPN and resource geography in three aspects. First is how non-human objects, such as underwater noise, were problematized as impediments for the unfolding of GPNs. Second is how knowledge was mobilized and transfigured by firms to overcome such an obstacle. Lastly is how GPN transforms through this spatial reconfiguration.

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