Imagining a Wind Turbine: Negotiations over the energy transition in the Aran Islands
Tatenhove, A.S. van
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This thesis investigates the envisioning and negotiation of the community-led energy transition on the Aran Islands, an Irish island group, through a combination of theoretical concepts and ethnographic fieldwork. It investigates the energy transition as a negotiation over energy infrastructure between people, institutions, technology, and the environment. It approaches infrastructure as embedded: sunk into and inside of other structures, social arrangements, and technologies (Star 1999, 381). Using an Actor Network Theory-informed approach, this thesis investigates the assemblage of connections that surround the islands energy infrastructure, and actants that have agency within it. A key actant in this study was CFOAT, a local community energy project that works on the islands energy transition. They envision that the production of renewable electricity locally, if community-owned, can increase the self-sufficiency of the islands in terms of energy autonomy and self-reliance of the island community. They are currently working on a wind turbine proposal. The four chapters of this thesis shed light on different aspects to be negotiated in the energy transition and in the wind turbine proposal specifically. Next to human actants, these also include non-human ones, like the material possibilities of infrastructure, wind, and policy frameworks. The thesis so attempts to capture intricate and complex aspects of the assemblage - whether already materialized or imagined.