Who Owns the Wind?

Who Owns the Wind?:Climate Crisis and the Hope of Renewable Energy

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Why the wind, and energy it produces, should not be private property

The energy transition has begun. To succeed – to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar power – that process must be fair. Otherwise, mounting popular protest against wind farms will prolong carbon pollution and deepen the climate crisis. David Hughes examines that anti-industrial, anti-corporate resistance, drawing insights from a Spanish village surrounded by turbines. In the lives of these neighbours – freighted with centuries of exploitation - clean power and social justice fit together only awkwardly. Proposals for a green economy, the Green New Deal, or Europe’s Green Deal require more effort. We must rethink aesthetics, livelihood, property, and, most essentially, the private nature of wind resources. Ultimately, the energy transition will be public and just, or it may not be at all


  • David Hughes it doing some of the most innovative thinking and writing about energy democracy in the world. The movements for climate justice are in his debt.

    Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything
  • No task is more crucial than building out renewable energy around the world--but it can't happen at the speed it must unless communities embrace windmills and solar panels. And as this frank, straightforward and clarifying book makes clear, that will happen if and when we have a real stake in these assets. The author's proposals are ambitious but also modest and logical, and they are deeply grounded in real life observation--this is a book to be reckoned with.

    Bill McKibben, author The End of Nature
  • How do we conjure hope in these times of climate breakdown? In Who Owns the Wind? David McDermott Hughes shows that a climate-stabilizing energy revolution must socialize renewables so that wind power comes to be equated with social justice rather than private gain. McDermott Hughes takes readers to a small town in Spain where wind is abundant, and where citizens rose up against privately-owned, corporate wind power, stymieing energy transition. To head off such resistance, McDermott Hughes advocates for a "socialism of the wind." Who Owns the Wind? shows that we will win fossil fuel abolition only if we succeed in transforming renewable power into a common resource, one that tangibly benefits and enfranchises the communities where turbines and other infrastructure is located. McDermott Hughes’s book should be required reading for all energy democracy advocates and environmental justice activists.

    Ashley Dawson, author of Extreme Cities