Rural Energy Transition in the Global North: Community Benefits, Contradictions and Future Challenges - Part I.

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Energy and Environment Specialty Group, Rural Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Plaza Court 8, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Organizers: Bohumil Frantal, Martin (Mike) Pasqualetti, Stanislav Martinat
Chairs: Bohumil Frantal


Over the past two decades, we have witnessed different processes of the ongoing transition to a more sustainable energy systems. One of the ways how to reduce our high carbon dependency is deployment of renewable energy sources. These new phenomena significantly affect especially rural spaces that have been traditionally conservative in adopting innovations, and the new developments have altered landscapes and land use dynamics, brought about new land use conflicts and disconnections between policy makers and stakeholders (Cowell et al., 2011, Frantal et al., 2014). It´s known that these tensions differ depending on geographical locations, political-institutional settings and local socio-cultural contexts of individual projects. There´s also no doubt that the mentioned trends offer wide possibilities for diversification of agricultural activities and they might lead to the desired and more sustainable socio-economic and environmental development of rural areas. In other words, facilities for generation of renewable energy in the countryside are becoming an integral part of the wider societal change in favor of the sustainability transformation of the rural (Marsden and Rucinska, 2019). As rural areas are characterized by lower population density, it seems beneficial to support a de-centralized system of generating renewable energy. A huge potential of such locally generated electricity and heat for local development is obvious and plenty of „smart practice“ examples of such symbiosis exist (Frantal, et al., 2018). In order to shed more light on the issue of rural energy transition, it is necessary to reflect social-spatial relations in a given area as they determine all decisions in the scope of production, distribution, and consumption of energy (Pasqualetti, 2011). The legal arrangements regarding the energy sector applicable in a given area must be also analyzed in order to identify the key particularities. Special attention has to be devoted to studying the value systems influencing the daily behavior of the population of the local communities affected by renewable energies. And finally, the perception of usage of the surrounding landscape by the local population has to be significantly taken into account. To move forward, the public and political support for individual energy industries need to be reconsidered (Chodkowska-Miszczuk et al., 2019).

In this Session, we strive to learn more about examples of rural energy transition from various geographical contexts in the Global North. We try to capture the spatial regularities of identified changes, to point out the directions of energy transition and to analyze the relationships formed between the new energy entities and the places where they are located.

Cowell, R., Bristow, G., Munday, M. (2011). Acceptance, acceptability and environmental justice: the role of community benefits in wind energy development. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 54(4), 539-557.
Marsden, T., Rucinska, K. (2019). After COP21: Contested Transformations in the Energy/Agri-Food Nexus. Sustainability, 11(6), 1695.
Frantál, B., Van der Horst, D., Martinát, S., Schmitz, S., Silva, L., Golobic, M., Roth, M. (2018). Spatial targeting, synergies and scale: Exploring the criteria of smart practices for siting renewable energy projects. Energy Policy, 120, 85-93.
Frantal, B., Pasqualetti, M., Van der Horst, D. (2014): New trends and challenges for energy geographies: Introduction to the special issue. Moravian Geographical Reports, 22, 2-6.
Pasqualetti, M. J. (2011). Social barriers to renewable energy landscapes. Geographical Review, 101(2), 201-223.
Chodkowska-Miszczuk, J., Martinat, S., Cowell, R. (2019). Community tensions, participation, and local development: Factors affecting the spatial embeddedness of anaerobic digestion in Poland and the Czech Republic. Energy Research & Social Science 55, 134-155.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Michel Deshaies*, Université de Lorraine, Potential and limits to the development of wind farms in Europe (France and Germany) 15 1:45 PM
Presenter Bohumil Frantal*, The Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Geonics, Destroying ´rural idyll´ or supporting local development? Competing perceptions and discourses of wind energy in Czech villages in Romanian Banat 15 2:00 PM
Presenter Michael Kvern*, University of Winnipeg, Patricia Fitzpatrick, University of Winnipeg, Community Energy Planning for Increased Resilience in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada 15 2:15 PM
Presenter Casey Lilley*, , Residential Solar PV Systems in Vermont – Who Invests? 15 2:30 PM
Presenter Christina Gagliano-Veiga*, University of Toronto - Mississauga, The Current and Future State of Green Buildings in Canada 15 2:45 PM

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