The Geopolitics of Renewables

August 8, 21 | Books

Book Title: The Geopolitics of Renewables

Author: Scholten, Daniel (Ed.)

Details: Published in 2018 by Springer, 338 pages. “Features the first in-depth look at the geopolitical implications of a transition towards renewable energy.”

Geopolitics is a short-hand term frequently associated with foreign relations and energy or commodities. However the term is rarely defined beyond the emotional association of interest-based power plays and intrigue. As renewables’ share in the energy mix increase, the question is raised about their impact on ‘geopolitics’. As quoted in the FTThere are two schools of thought about the energy transition. One believes it is a kind of clean energy realpolitik, marked by the desire to gain economic advantage. The actions of China, the US and Europe reflect this kind of thinking. But the other is that clean energy will involve a lot less geopolitics and might help reduce conflict — a more utopian future.

Paul Stevens, a fellow at think-tank Chatham House, subscribes to the latter view. “It’s like the geopolitics of carrots,” he says. “There are no geopolitics of carrots, and renewables are the same as carrots. You can be self-sufficient with them, and you don’t need to rely on somebody to keep the Strait of Hormuz open.

The book goes through a comprehensive overview of most aspects of renewables, testing the extent to which ‘geopolitics’ is applicable. The book is an exciting read if geopolitics excite you. Spoiler alert: renewables are the ‘boring’ kind of geopolitics, no cloaks and daggers.

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