Introduction: Conceptualizing Rural Energy Transitions

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conference – Annual report year: 2018Researchpeer-review

View graph of relations

While academic debates interested in spatial implications of energy transition and the realization of sustainable futures have predominantly focused on urban areas resulting in the notion of ‘urban energy transitions’, its non-urban counterpart, ‘rural energy transitions’, have remained rather underexplored. This is surprising, because the resources of renewable energies, one of the key elements of energy transitions, are variously linked to rural spaces. In particular, rural regions accommodate the majority of renewable energy infrastructures, such as wind turbines, solar and biogas plants as well as transmission grids. In that sense, urban energy transitions are simply impossible without rural energy transitions. Nevertheless, the ‘rural’ as the location and context for transformations of the energy sector has only been considered marginally, while the main focus of academic work has been on urban agglomerations. Despite the increasing attention energy issues are gaining from social sciences in general and urban studies and human geography in particular, rural studies have only slowly started to engage with energy transition as a field of research. The paper addresses this missing link between social science research on energy and rural studies. In doing so, it formulates three interlinkages between both strands of research: rural areas as locations for the materializations of energy transitions, contestations around energy issues in rural areas and the emancipatory potentials of rural energy transitions. We argue, that a mutual communication between energy research and rural studies would allow for a development of fruitful insights into the rural character of energy transitions as well as on the role of energy within rural change.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventRoyal Geographical Society with IBG Annual International Conference 2018 - Cardiff Univeristy, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Aug 201831 Aug 2018


ConferenceRoyal Geographical Society with IBG Annual International Conference 2018
LocationCardiff Univeristy
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address
Download as:
Download as PDF
Select render style:
Download as HTML
Select render style:
Download as Word
Select render style:

ID: 153997425