Policy Press

The Sun Also Rises in Portugal

Ambitions of Just Solar Energy Transitions

By Siddharth Sareen

Published

Jun 5, 2024

Page count

176 pages

ISBN

978-1529242102

Dimensions

203 x 127 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jun 5, 2024

Page count

176 pages

ISBN

978-1529242119

Dimensions

203 x 127 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jun 5, 2024

Page count

176 pages

ISBN

978-1529242119

Dimensions

203 x 127 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

Jun 5, 2024

Page count

176 pages

ISBN

978-1529242126

Dimensions

203 x 127 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press
The Sun Also Rises in Portugal

Available open access digitally under CC-BY licence.

Portugal is among the best-placed European countries to take advantage of solar power, having achieved a five-fold increase in installed capacity during 2017-2023 despite financial constraints. In 2023, its National Energy and Climate Plan set an ambitious target for a further eight-fold increase from 2.5 GW to 20.4 GW by 2030.

How can such fast-paced deployment secure sociospatial justice? What insights do political economic dynamics hold for future transitions? Drawing on long-term, multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork, this book is a one-stop resource for policymakers, practitioners, scholars, and anyone interested in just solar energy transitions.

Siddharth Sareen won the 2024 Nils Klim Prize, recognising his exemplary work in the search for renewable and sustainable sources of energy.

"This is a riveting and comprehensive account of a breakneck lower-carbon energy transition from a preeminent solar scholar. An indispensable tome for anyone passionate about the equity dimensions of climate change mitigation." Ryan Stock, Northern Michigan University

“Through brilliant analysis of Portugal’s pioneering rollout of solar power, leading energy scholar Siddharth Sareen illuminates why a global energy transition must provide justice as well as joules – and how it can.” James McCarthy, Clark University

"In The Sun also Rises in Portugal, Siddharth Sareen brings us on an in-depth examination of the political economy underlying the transformation of Portugal to a solar powered economy. This research describes changes to Portugal’s countryside from one dominated by locally treasured cork oak forests to an emerging solar energy landscape. He carefully situates these tensions alongside efforts to generate solar power from the rooftops of sustainable cities, or under alternative modes of governance and ownership, showing us the multiple imaginaries competing to generate future supplies of clean energy. This pathbreaking work offers readers a rigorous research design, rich empirical fieldwork, and thoughtful analysis to tell us a story that will increasingly sound familiar around the world as the global solar energy transition carries forward. This book should be read by anyone interested in a future of solar centered around justice and sustainability." Dustin Mulvaney, San José State University

"While countries across the world struggle to meet decarbonization targets, Portugal closed its last coal thermal plant years ahead of schedule thanks in large part to the rise of solar power. Sareen’s book is a brilliant study of the radical possibilities of solar futures as well as what impedes a socially just and ecologically sustainable energy transition. He argues for the embrace of community solar as an antidote to the extractivist logics of grid scale energy that currently guide decarbonization in Portugal and elsewhere." Dominic Boyer, Rice University

Siddharth Sareen is a human geographer, Professor in Energy and Environment at the University of Stavanger and Professor II at the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation, University of Bergen.

1. Urgency, Justice and Scales in the Portuguese Solar Energy Transition: The Spatial Scales of a Just Solar Transition

2. An Energy Researcher’s Tryst with Portugal during 2017-2023: Multi-Sited and Multi-Scalar Longitudinal Ethnographic Fieldwork

3. From Economic Recession to Unsubsidized Solar Energy Projects in 2017: The Latest Darling of the European Solar Scene

4. A New Ministry and a World-Record Solar Auction in 2018-2019: The Conundrum of Valuating a Digitalizing Electricity Grid

5. The Best-Laid Plans and the Mixed News of 2020-2021 for Portuguese Solar: Finding a Balance between Slow and Fast Emergencies

6. A Legislative Basis for Community Energy in 2022 and Slow Solar Growth: The Magic Trick of a Solar Energy Community

7. The Need for Cross-Sectoral Action Writ Large in Renewed Ambitions in 2023: A Past that is Present in the Future

8. Lessons for Policy and Research for Just Solar Energy Transitions: The Slow Vision of SOLIS or an Idea Whose Time has Come?