29. June | 2017

Energy System Change: Politics, Materialities, Spatialities

Round Table Discussion with Ludger Gailing at Durham Energy Institute

On May 26th 2017 Dr. Ludger Gailing presented and discussed his paper on “old” and “new” energy spaces at Durham Energy Institute (DEI). Lead by Prof. Gavin Bridge (Department of Geography at Durham University) the round table discussion attracted renowned scholars such as Prof. Harriet Bulkeley and Prof. Simone Abram who contributed to the event as discussants.

Introducing his research, Gailing presented a paper on “New” and “Old” Energy Spaces: Competing Socio-Materialities and Governmentalities in Regional Energy Transitions. A second paper was presented by Dr. Ethemcan Turhan (Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm, Schweden) on the topic „Energy Democracy as an Insurgent Practice: Community, Commons, Contradictions“. Both Turhan and Gailing are currently Visiting Academic Fellows at Durham’s Department of Geography and discussed how the change of energy systems can be understood in terms of space and time and can be theoretically framed.

The round table discussion marked the conclusion of Gailing’s ten-week research stay at Durham University which was funded by a “Senior Research Fellowship” (EU-Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions’ COFUND funding scheme). In Durham, Gailing had be able to pursue his habilitation project with the working title “Reconfiguring Energy Spaces: The Role of Spatial Governmentalities and Competing Socio-Materialities” that will be submitted to Berlin’s Humboldt university.

The project examines the spatial organisation of energy transitions directing the focus towards aspects of “energy spaces” and new geographies of energy. The concept of energy spaces does not only refer to spatial aspects of infrastructures like power plants and grids. Instead, it also points to energy governance (national, regional, urban), the formation of energy landscapes and the shifting relations between energy policies and energy industries. Key insights from this geographical perspective are the production of space in energy transitions, multi-scalar relations in the energy sector, and the socio-materiality of energy transitions.