Type de publication:

Book Chapter


The Routledge Research Companion to Energy Geographies (2017)



Numéro d'appel:





Wind energy is commonly thought as part of renewable energies. “Renewable” points to the idea that wind, being a flow-energy, is not exhaustible. In economic terms, it is thought as non-rival: harnessing the energy of the wind does not deprive others from the possibility of doing so. A corollary to this view is the pregnant and reifying idea that wind speed defines the potential for wind power development and production. In this view, the physical geography of wind is the only geography that matters in characterising wind power potential. Our chapter builds on previous contributions pointing at the socially-constructed nature of wind power potential, in order to introduce the reader to a human geography of wind power. Drawing from a set of case studies of wind power development in France and a (theoretical) discussion of the socio-technical dimension of wind power technology and of various types of commons involved, assembled and re-composed in its development, we challenge the idea that “renewability” is an essential property of wind energy. Rather, we defend the idea that wind power can be made ‘renewable’ if the sociospatial context in which it is developed is thoroughly understood and properly taken into account.


This research was funded by the French National Research Agency - research program ANR COLLENER - Sociotechnical collectives of the energy transition (coord. Alain Nadaï and Olivier Labussière)Humanities and Social Sciences/GeographyHumanities and Social Sciences/Environmental studiesHumanities and Social Sciences/Political scienceHumanities and Social Sciences/SociologyHumanities and Social Sciences/Architecture, space managementBook sections

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