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New Political Ecologies of Renewable Energy

Knuth, S.; Behrsin, I.; Levenda, A.; McCarthy, J.

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I. Behrsin

A. Levenda

J. McCarthy


The critique of fossil fuel regimes has been a foundational concern for the field of political ecology, in its drives to expose the injustices and harms of energy extractivism and its early warnings of the climate crisis. However, it is increasingly evident that renewable energy sources and their infrastructures will carry their own costs and trade-offs, and that critique, resistance and alternative movement-building are needed to forge a truly just renewable energy transition. This theme issue underlines the many ways in which political ecology is well-positioned to lead critical and engaged scholarship in support of energy/climate justice. In this introduction and survey, we draw on new research collected here to reflect on political ecology's distinctive analytical capacities and forms of praxis for this task. We argue that the collection advances political ecology's intellectual and political purchase on renewable transition in several crucial ways. These include (1) Theorizing Renewables-Driven Land Transformations, (2) Advancing Industrial Political Ecologies of Renewables, (3) Locating Power within Technical and Artifactual Politics and (4) Generating Knowledge and Tools for Just Transitions. We conclude with reflections on further pressing concerns for the field: for example, rising debates over scale, ownership and accountability models within renewable energy justice and democracy movements and critical conversations growing around renewable energy's own extraction geographies and diverse forms of racialization.


Knuth, S., Behrsin, I., Levenda, A., & McCarthy, J. (2022). New Political Ecologies of Renewable Energy. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 5(3), 997-1013.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 2, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 28, 2022
Publication Date 2022-09
Deposit Date Jun 30, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 1, 2022
Journal Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space
Print ISSN 2514-8486
Electronic ISSN 2514-8494
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 3
Pages 997-1013


Accepted Journal Article (263 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (

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