Accepted Paper:

Challenging water-energy governance: the mega-hydropower project in Río Marañón and its contestation  

Authors:

Rocio Juliana Herrera (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie)
Alena Israel (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper argues that Political Ecology and Energy Justice are suitable frameworks for analysing hydropower projects. It focus on the analysis of energy governance and the underlying formal and informal driving and contesting forces in the water-energy governance of the river Marañón in Perú.

Paper long abstract:

Hydropower projects are more than energy policies. They are also a decision about water and land uses affecting a variety of actors. Hence, the prioritisation of energy generation leads to conflicts.

Political Ecology and Energy Justice are suitable analytical and theoretical frameworks for analysing hydropower projects and its wide range of underlying meanings and conflict potential.

Political Ecology and its explicit consideration of power relations in environmental issues allows capturing the complexity of actors, interests and power struggles related to hydropower projects.

Energy Justice enables to conceptualise justice dimensions of energy projects, including procedural, distributional and recognition justice concerns.

The paper focus on the analysis of energy governance configurations and the underlying formal and informal driving and contesting forces. It depicts the complex interplays in the water-energy governance of the river Marañón in Perú, where the projected construction of 20 large hydropower plants evokes both, hopes and resistance.

An empirical study in 2016/2017, where semi-structured interviews were done, analyses actors, institutions and regulations of the Marañón hydropower project, focusing on the perceptions, interests and resources. International and national institutions perceive the river as an economic resource and prioritize energy needs disregarding environmental impacts and the interests of local communities.

The paper discuss the challenges for governance configurations in the energy sector regarding two key ideas. First, the necessity of considering the interdisciplinary nature of energy policies. Second, the opportunities of incorporating the procedural and recognition energy justice concepts in public policy making in order to enhance the democratic discussion.

Panel D02
Challenging formal arrangements and decision-making in the energy sector