Dossier: "Vectors of sustainability: visions from the economy" coordinated by Albert Puig GómezISSUE 16 (NOVEMBER 2021)
A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

The geopolitics of renewables within 21st century capitalism

Abstract

The article analyses, from a historical perspective, the geopolitics of energy in the framework of the capitalist system. The first section explains the birth of the geopolitics of energy (a geography of energy by state and the kind of energy relations between states), arguing that its birth is associated with fossil fuels and its goal is the safeguarding of supremacy through both territorial control of energy sources (or flows) and their commodification. After a brief review of the geopolitics of oil, the article ventures on what, in the present context of capitalism, the geopolitics of renewables might be. The main conclusion is that, because of the inherent features of renewables, at the end of the day the outcome will be the result of a political choice. The question is whether this choice will also be aimed at both grounding hegemony on international energy relations and funding the global unbalances of the system.

energy transition;  geopolitics of renewable energy;  capitalism;  political economy;  history of energy; 
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