A.4 Corporate power, Fossil fuels and the Energy Transition:

(How) can we win it?

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This course will look at the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. We will try to understand why and how the transition is happening, what role large energy corporations play in it and how social movements can intervene. Throughout the course, we will try to use the Rhineland as an example for the challenges of a just and speedy transition.

(1) Energy and corporate power
The first session will introduce some basic concepts about energy (production) and provide an overview of how energy is currently produced and consumed. It will look in particular at large energy companies, their business model and their connection to political power as well as at social movements that are challenging their activities.

(2) Fossil fuels: Past, present and future
In the second session, we will try to understand the history, present and future of fossil fuels and the companies that extract and burn them. How and why did fossil fuels become the dominant form of energy production and how are fossil fuel companies positioning themselves for the future? We will also discuss tactics and strategies how activists could successfully intervene in their activities.

(3) Challenges of the transition
Renewables are cleaner, cheaper and better than Fossil fuels so why haven’t they taken over yet? This session will look at some of the European wide challenges to reaching a 100% renewable electricity system. It will examine how much of the challenge is technical and how much renewables are held back by the political power of the big energy companies.

(4) Energy Democracy
Finally, session four will present ideas about energy democracy and community-led renewable energy ownership. It will look at what changes when the energy system is owned by the people and operated for the common good.  We will explore some principles of community ownership and just transition and investigate in how far these concepts can challenge corporate-dominated power structures and provide the basis for wider changes in society.

The course aims to put the participants in a leading role and allow them to explore the different issues collectively and in participatory way by integrating their existing knowledge. The exact methods will vary for the different sessions and include exploration of sub-topics in small groups, role-plays, spectrum lines and other learning games.

No prior knowledge is required to take part in this course, but participants should be comfortable discussing the topic in English.