Dr Stefan Andreasson, QUB, "The geometry of the energy transition: global energy infrastructure and international relations”?
This paper investigates how the transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable sources of energy presumes a fundamental reconfiguration not only of the global energy system but also of international relations. Crucially, such a reconfiguration will be manifested in the transformation of energy infrastructure, i.e., the very “arteries” of the energy system, from that of an infrastructure that is presently shaped by the asymmetric supply of geographically fixed fossil fuels under sovereign control (coal, oil, natural gas) to one characterised by symmetry in the supply of renewables (wind and sunshine). Whereas an asymmetric distribution of fossil fuels, including the infrastructure required to transport these resources between geographically distant producers and consumers, has been a significant driver of conflict, the transition to a more symmetric distribution of renewables will facilitate energy relations of a more horizontal and polycentric nature potentially less prone to conflict. At the same time, our low-carbon energy future might also produce points of tension and conflict if new forms of asymmetries emerge in access to technology and distribution networks (becoming regional rather than international). Identifying these shifts and understanding new dynamics set in motion will be crucial for understanding international relations in the era of renewables.
|Name||Dr Michele Crepaz|