Seminar: “Renewable energy: North and South case studies on local politics and resistance”

“Renewable energy: North and South case studies on local politics and resistance”

Informal seminar by CSPS Political Agency at the Grassroots
March 7 2018, 15:00 – 17:00
Leeuwenborch V72, Wageningen

Program:

15:00 Pia Otte (Ruralis, Trondheim Norway): Energy impacts: Dilemmas and paradoxes of the Fosen wind energy project

15:30 Maite Hernando Arrese (Wageningen): Drawing lessons from the boom of the mini-hydros in southern Chile

16:00 Break

16:15 Michiel Köhne and Elisabet Rasch (Wageningen): Energy practices and imaginations of renewable energy futures

16:45 Discussion


Abstracts:

Pia Otte – Energy impacts: Dilemmas and paradoxes of the Fosen wind energy project

Wind energy developments have experienced mixed levels of social acceptance. A wide range of literature investigates people’s perceptions of wind farms that in turn determine the social acceptance of these technologies. However, many studies seem to reduce the nature of these conflicts to mainly matters of social perceptions and NIMBY’ism. An increasing field of research within energy and social science has shown that energy impacts of wind energy projects go beyond their material impacts but embed deep social, cultural and political consequences. This presentation investigates discourses of energy impacts in case of Europe’s largest wind energy located in Central Norway, on the Fosen peninsula and reflects on their complex temporalities and scales. We apply a mix of qualitative methods including document, media analysis and semi-structured interviews with various interest groups. The study shows that the implications of the four discourses are complex and are tied to many uncertain socio-economic and political conditions that go far beyond the energy project itself.

Maite Hernando Arrese – Drawing lessons from the boom of the mini-hydros in southern Chile

In 2016, a Mini Hydro was built in Tránguil amid claims against the energy company RP Global for having appropriated a Mapuche private land and built part of the project over an indigenous cemetery. When the indigenous Community Newen de Tránguil (CNT) began to mobilize and demanding a reappraisal of the project, their members began to receive threats from their neighbours and relatives. In this context, the wife of the spokesperson of the CNT Macarena Valdés was murdered and hanged after her death, although her crime was initially catalogued as a suicide. Chile, like many other countries, has embarked on an energy transition that has involved moving from large hydropower dams to mini-hydros. Consequently, the governments have pushed forward the development of the ‘Plan 100 Mini Hydros for Chile’. Nonetheless, the chosen places to carry out the plan are inhabited by Mapuche communities, the largest indigenous population of the country, which have expressed their opposition to the build of any kind of hydropower infrastructure within their territory for affecting their livelihoods and well-being

Michiel Köhne and Elisabet Rasch – Energy practices and imaginations of renewable energy futures

This paper examines how imaginations and ideas of renewable energy futures are rooted in past and present local energy practices. It does so by way of a case study of the Noordoostpolder (The Netherlands), where a nuclear power plant was resisted in the 1980s, shale gas developments were contested between 2013 and 2017, one of the biggest wind parks of the country was opened in 2016, and large-scale farmers and horticulturalists have been involved in the production of renewable energy since the 1990s. These ‘energy practices’ shape, give form to and at the same time reflect the ways in which a just, future energy production is imagined, both  in terms of the production of energy, as in terms of the political organisation of it.

 

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