Wind energy, benefit-sharing, and indigenous peoples: the case of Southern Mexico
Paola Velasco Herrejon
(University of Cambridge)
Paper short abstract:
This paper addresses the question of how international benefit-sharing instruments translate into practice within wind power investments located in indigenous communities. The study uses Mexico's wind energy sector and its resent introduction of Free Prior Informed Consent processes as a case study.
Paper long abstract:
This paper addresses the question of how international benefit-sharing instruments translate into practice within wind power investments located in indigenous communities. Promoting common interest in sustainable development and environmental problems would be more effective if solutions resulted in everyone being better off. However, this is rarely the case since strategies to reduce carbon emissions usually result in winners and losers (WCED, 1987), and renewable energies are no exception. The adoption of ambitious renewable energy targets has had profound social, economic and environmental implications that operate at scales ranging from local to global, and have raised questions about governance and decision-making in capitalist societies (Shearman and Smith 2007). Therefore, identifying key issues related to legislative instruments that address the distribution of benefits and burdens of energy services has become hugely important in advancing the proliferation of clean energy. Benefit-sharing arrangements are increasingly used to address the social impacts of renewable energy generation projects around the world, building on practices developed in the extractive and mining sectors. This paper looks at the practice of benefit-sharing - why it is being done, by whom and in which context - to make sense of the normative contours of extant arrangements, pursuant to a case-study approach. Looking at Mexico's growing wind energy sector, the paper considers benefit-sharing arrangements in indigenous peoples' lands, and their interplay with and Free Prior Informed Consent processes. The aim is to establish how well these arrangements respond to Social Licence to Operate-related requirements in international instruments.
Partnerships in practice: power and inequality in development partnerships with the private sector