Handbook on the Geographies of Energy
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Handbook on the Geographies of Energy

Edited by Barry D. Solomon and Kirby E. Calvert

This extensive Handbook captures a range of expertise and perspectives on the changing geographies and landscapes of energy production, distribution, and use. Combining established and emerging scholarship from across disciplines, the expert contributions provide a broad overview of research frontiers for the changing geographies of energy worldwide. Interdisciplinary in nature and broad in scope, it serves to answer a range of questions and provide the reader with conceptual and methodological foundations.
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Chapter 17: Changing human geographies of the electricity grid: shifts of power and control in the renewable energy transition

Stephen M. McCauley and Jennie C. Stephens

Abstract

Electricity systems worldwide are in the midst of major changes as renewable energy expands and related infrastructures and governance regimes adapt toward a post-fossil fuel future. At the same time, human societies are becoming increasingly dependent on electricity as more basic societal functions are electrified. As this energy transition progresses, energy geographies are reconfigured, as technologies, infrastructures, institutions and cultural practices shift to accommodate new norms of energy production and consumption. The emerging landscape of renewable power is more distributed, decentralized and heterogeneous compared to the highly centralized production and transmission of electricity in the fossil fuel era. The authors explore the implications of this shift for opportunities for publics to participate meaningfully in and share benefits from the electricity sector. Using a comparative framework, they suggest that a shift to renewable electricity could create societal opportunities for participation and control.

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