Version 3.2_September 2016

Individual Paper: Wind energy conflicts and the politization of energy transitions. A study on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec Region (Oaxaca, Mexico)

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In the context of climate change and energy concerns, wind energy production is being increasingly supported by international agencies, public policies and private investment. Although large-scale wind farms are promoted worldwide as win-win strategies, such projects are causing a growing number of local conflicts, bringing upon new dimensions to the energy transition debate.

This paper studies the expansion of large-scale wind energy projects in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec Region (Oaxaca, Mexico) and the socio-environmental conflicts that have locally emerged against them. I analyze wind energy projects in the Isthmus as a new form of capital accumulation, bringing processes of dispossession, commodification and rifting of the local commons. Struggles of indigenous groups in the area are then interpreted as the expression of marginalized communities against enclosure of land and the privatization of local resources.

The research follows a historical revision of the case study (1995-2015) and works with the Environmental Justice Atlas methodology. Through this process, I aim to identify the “reactive” and “proactive” moments of conflict, helping me to elucidate the concepts and actions that are politicizing the energy transition debate in Mexico. In this line, the discussion emphasizes the role of communal identities and institutions in building successful local resistance, but also in bringing new concepts (energy sovereignty) and production schemes (cooperatives) that suggest different ways of understanding, producing and consuming renewable energy.


Day: 2016-09-02
Start time: 11:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: 326
Track: New democracy new institutions