Critical Renewabilities: Political Ecologies/Economies of Renewable Energy 1

Type: Virtual Paper
Sponsor Groups: Energy and Environment Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 37
Organizers: Anthony Levenda, Ingrid Behrsin, Sarah Knuth
Chairs: Anthony Levenda


Facing the challenge of global climate change and other 21st century disruptions, scholars across multiple fields of geographic research have increasingly embraced renewable energy transitions as a core concern. Such transitions are at once material and ecological, power-laden, and culturally meaningful – and thus deeply geographical (Bridge et al. 2013). Critical renewable energy geographers are therefore drawing upon political economy, feminist science studies, decolonial studies, environmental justice and other interdisciplinary approaches to investigate renewable energy transitions as emerging spaces of possibilities and constraints. This scholarship illuminates how renewable energy development may usher in new green economic imaginaries of technological 'disruption' and renewal (Knuth 2017; 2018), promise novel socioecological fixes to capitalist crisis tendencies (McCarthy 2015; Castree and Christophers 2015), and/or serve as liberatory "technologies of existence" (Powell 2006). Renewable energy transitions, and the variegated movements both in support of and in resistance to them, are thus fertile terrain for political ecology and critical energy scholars.

These sessions seek to prompt new and renewed (McCarthy 2012) scholarly conversations that explore themes such as:

- The processes of enclosure and dispossession that facilitate the rollout of solar, wind, hydropower, and other renewable energy technologies (Rignall2016; Avila-Calero 2017; Baka 2017; Harlan 2018);
- The intersections of techno-scientific knowledge production and political economic interests that facilitate renewable energy uptake (Newell and Mulvaney 2013; Franklin and Osborne 2017; Levenda 2018; Behrsin 2019);
- The construction and exploitation of social difference to amplifydominant power arrangements and interests in renewable energy planning processes (Carruthers and Rodriguez 2009; Joshi 2015; Lennon 2017);
- Environmental and energy justice movements and initiatives in support of equitable renewable energy transitions and just futures (Powell 2006; Curley 2018; Huber 2018).


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Sarah Knuth Department of Geography, Durham University 10 8:00 AM
Presenter Ker-Hsuan Chien*, National Tsing Hua University, An energy transition to gas? The multi-scalar reconfiguration of energy systems and the rise of natural gas 15 8:10 AM
Presenter Holly Buck*, University at Buffalo, Mining the air: Political ecologies of carbon-negative oil and the circular carbon economy 15 8:25 AM
Presenter Ingrid Behrsin*, University of California, Davis, Sarah Knuth, Durham University, Anthony Levenda, University of Oklahoma, Thirty States of Renewability: Controversial energies and the politics of incumbent industry 15 8:40 AM
Presenter Tyler Harlan*, Loyola Marymount University, From conventional to renewable: The discursive politics of hydropower’s “renewability” in the current energy transition 15 8:55 AM

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