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Accepted Paper:

Energy frontiers under steam. Promises and pitfalls of geothermal resource extraction  
Clemens Greiner (University of Cologne) Britta Klagge

Paper short abstract:

This presentation looks at the promises and problems associated with the development of geothermal energy resources in remote rural areas of Kenya and Iceland

Paper long abstract:

The extraction of geothermal resources is becoming an important source of energy in many parts of the world. Because it is considered environmentally friendly and renewable, the development of geothermal energy is widely supported by governments and donors. Like many other renewable energy sources (wind, solar, hydro), the exploration of geothermal fields is pushing energy frontiers into rural areas where - especially in the global South - the land rights of local users (often commons) are poorly defined. Apart from low-cost and reliable base-load energy, geothermal also promises economic incentives through direct use and - more generally - the development of infrastructure in remote rural regions. However, it is not without negative impacts on the environment and can severely affect local livelihoods. It can therefore be seen as a “harm industry” (Benson & Kirsch, 2010) for local communities, which meets with criticism and sometimes resistance. This presentation is based on a long-term interdisciplinary project of social anthropology and economic geography on the topic of energy futures. It seeks to understand the political ecology of geothermal resource extraction and its impact on local communities. Building on fieldwork in Kenya and, to a lesser extent, Iceland, it analyses the development plans and visions, the power relations and institutions that shape negotiations between local, national and international actors and interests.

Panel P091c
Energy transition(s): the promises of renewables and future of the commons [Energy Anthropology Network] III
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -