Alexander Dunlap: Spreading ‘green’ infrastructural harm: mapping conflicts and socio-ecological disruptions within the European Union’s transnational energy grid
Published in Globalizations, 2021
Climate change now serves to justify new mandates for increasing ‘clean’ and ‘renewable’ energy, which affirms the existing European trajectory of infrastructural expansion. Employing a multi-sited political ecology analysis of infrastructure (MSPEAI), this article connects five environmental conflicts via a 400-kV high-voltage power line (HVPL). The conflicts span across France, Catalonia and Spain, revealing how the European ‘green’ transition entrenches infrastructural harm by branding it ‘green’. The European Green Deal, and other climate change legislation, are intensifying the infrastructural colonization of the countryside and the neoliberalization of the energy sector. By examining five interlinked environmental conflicts, this article, contrary to public relations efforts and European policy, demonstrates how there is no ‘renewable’ energy transition, only electrical grid expansion (e.g. increasing material and energy-use) and conflict resulting in green infrastructural harm. The conclusion, thereby, reveals the necessity of enacting degrowth policy proposals immediately to lessen and stop the spread of ecological and climate catastrophe.