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Mutualising sunshine: economic and territorial entanglements in a local photovoltaic project

Abstract : Focusing on a successful local photovoltaic project in France, this paper retraces the emergence and constitution of a territorial capacity to take part in the development of renewable energy as driven by a private actor (an agricultural cooperative) that relied on the combination of policy support, of a tradition of mutualisation, and of its territorial implantation. A relational perspective on innovation and entrepreneurship is adopted to describe the various entanglements that hold this project together. The development of a local renewable energy project and its community is seen as a collective endeavour that requires to establish and consolidate relationships between people and things; relationships are negotiated, tested and shaped through series of trials. I pay particular attention to the material and cognitive devices that are used to articulate the market policy framework and the territory (understood as a geographical, patrimonial and social entity), particularly by organising mutualisation. This enables me to explore how supporting policies and the territory are mobilised and enacted in the course of the project, and the extent to which both are transformed in the process. Supporting policies are turned into a tool for territorial innovation and development, while the tradition of territorial mutualisation that is constitutive of the cooperative that promoted the project becomes a way to provide access to a market and to maximise and redistribute associated profits. This highlights the entanglements through which a specific conception of equity is enacted in a project, and redistributive concerns are incorporated into an economics-centred policy device.
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Submitted on : Sunday, June 2, 2019 - 12:43:06 PM
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Béatrice Cointe. Mutualising sunshine: economic and territorial entanglements in a local photovoltaic project. Local Environment, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2018, pp.1-17. ⟨10.1080/13549839.2018.1436044⟩. ⟨hal-01713207⟩



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