Harvesting the wind: the political ecology of wind energy in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Lourdes Alonso Serna


Located in the state of Oaxaca, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec coastal plain is the first region in Mexico with a large-scale wind development comprising 22 wind farms in 5 municipalities with an installed capacity of 2,668 megawatts. This thesis presents the politics and metabolism of wind energy in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The core concept guiding the research is Ekers's and Prudham's (2015) elaboration of the socio-ecological fix in analysing "the role of specific socio-natural transformations (both material and semiotic, political and ecological) in constituting and resolving (if temporarily) periodic paroxysms in the uneven historical geography of capitalism" (p. 2438). Three bodies of research are introduced to my interpretation of the socio-ecological fix: first, a Gramscian reading of power relations in Mexico; second, land rent; and third, spatial differentiation. In examining the role of different actors in negotiating and resisting wind energy in The Isthmus, this thesis considers two different forms of conflict over wind energy; on the one hand, disputes between landholders and energy developers on the issues of rent and on the other, the resistance of social movements against the imposition of wind energy and the limits to that resistance. Lastly, the thesis looks at the failed expectations of wind energy development in the region and argues that the space of renewable energy reworks core-periphery relations between The Isthmus of Tehuantepec and other regions where the electricity produced is consumed.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2020