This book analyses energy transitions and the opportunities and challenges for building sustainable energy systems to improve human capabilities while protecting the environment.
Sufficient and secure energy supply is critical to human thriving and socioeconomic development. Yet energy systems are also implicated in the most pressing socio-environmental challenges of our time - climate change, air pollution, and water and land use. This book examines what is arguably the most ambitious vision for a renewable energy based system worldwide. This vision, often called Desertec, is for a regional electricity system supplying North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East with sustainable and affordable power. The behemoth plan would entail building dozens of large-scale solar and wind power plants mostly in North Africa, interconnecting the fragmented transmission infrastructure of 38 Mediterranean countries, and linking North Africa to the European Union (EU) through undersea transmission cables. Within the Mediterranean, the book focuses on Morocco, which is one of the most advanced developing countries in renewable energy scale-up, to understand its motivations for building renewable energy and the effects on sustainable development. The book therefore takes a unique multi-scalar approach to understanding the social and political aspects of energy transitions, weaving together the views of villagers living near Morocco’s first solar energy zone with the perspectives of national decision-makers in Morocco with the views of European policymakers and major transnational energy companies in the Mediterranean region.
This book will be of great interest to students, scholars and policymakers interested in energy transitions, sustainable and renewable energy, Mediterranean politics, sustainable development and environment and sustainability more generally.
Table of Contents
List of figures
List of tables
List of abbreviations
Large-scale energy system transformations
- Introduction: Visions for sustainable energy transformations
- The history of concentrating solar power and large-scale engineering projects for the Mediterranean
- The critical geopolitics of renewable energy and spatial energy justice: Envisioning the Mediterranean, perceiving Desertec
- The life cycle of a vision: Desertec system designs
- The social pillar of sustainable development in Morocco’s solar imaginary
- Neocolonial or not? Evaluating North-South-South partnership on electricity integration
- Socially sustainable solar power development: From national dreams to local outcomes
- Conclusion: Energy justice and security in visions of multi-scalar systems
Nation-state visions for just and socially sustainable energy development
Sharlissa Moore is an Assistant Professor of International Energy Policy, jointly appointed between the International Relations fields in James Madison College and the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Michigan State University, USA.
"Sharlissa Moore’s highly readable account of renewable energy transformations at the intersection of Europe and North Africa provides new insights into this rapidly changing and resource-rich region. Equally important, it synthesizes the very latest in multidisciplinary approaches to energy transitions within the complex socio-technical systems that surround and enable our lives."-- Adam Reed, Education Director, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, University of Colorado Boulder, USA
"Many turn to renewable energy because of climate change and other reasons. Energy, however, is more than clever engineering. Politics, economics, ethics, and justice interweave with technology—locally, nationally, and internationally. Concentrating solar power projects to produce electricity in Morocco illustrate these challenges in this path-breaking analysis, a must read." -- John H Perkins, Member of the Faculty Emeritus, The Evergreen State College, USA
"In an engaging narrative style, Moore has created an important sociotechnical study of Morocco’s push for renewable energy, dispelling for once the notion that energy is just about science and technology. This rich case study provides insights into issues of power and justice relevant for other regions of the world." -- Mary Jane Parmentier, Clinical Associate Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University, USA
"Sharlissa Moore skillfully shows how the imbalances of power in the formation of a collective vision of energy systems stubbornly replicate themselves as imagination turns into design, implementation and social outcomes. An important contribution to the scholarship of Science and Technology Studies and essential reading for everyone involved in managing and shaping energy systems. This study, empirically centered in Morocco, offers a more general lesson: that