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Multiple Lives of Subsurface in Decarbonization

The political geology/ecology of the subterranean in energy transition

Cerro Pabellon Geothermal Plant, Chile (Source: Alexander Richter / ThinkGeoEnergy)
Cerro Pabellon Geothermal Plant, Chile (Source: Alexander Richter / ThinkGeoEnergy)

This summer school, organized in collaboration with HARNESS Project, will dive into the politics of sub/surface spaces in the energy transition with attention to spatialities, materialities and temporalities of subterranean renewable energy (ie. Geothermal), carbon-capture & storage (CCS), and hydrogen storage technologies. We will bring together expertise from political ecology, science and technology studies (STS), spatial sciences and critical geography, anthropology to dive into the key concepts and theories on the politics of the subterranean in energy transition.

Time: Mon 2023-08-28 - Fri 2023-09-01

Location: Groningen, the Netherlands

Language: English

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The global imperative for decarbonization and energy transition is increasingly framed as a shift towards global land scramble, given the spatially extensive nature of renewables and the divergent land-use patterns these technologies impose. Urgency and intensity of the transformation in the energy sector also has significant implications for the socio-material reconfiguration of subsurface spaces given that the power relations and institutional structures that manage these subterranean spaces are constantly shifting.

The summer school, while featuring cutting-edge scholarly debates on the topic, will also involve practitioners and energy justice activists to reflect on their real-life challenges.

The key objectives of this summer school is to:

  • Initiate an international research cooperation on the role of subterranean spaces in energy transition with a focus on geothermal energy and CCS (carbon capture and storage)

  • Creating opportunities for graduate students with a special emphasis on the global South

  • Bring together researchers, practitioners and activists

  • Innovate and experiment with educational formats

Practical Information

Dates & location

28 August 2023 - 01 September 2023
Groningen, the Netherlands


Primarily PhD and early career researchers, advanced MA students applications will also be considered.


  • € 300 for general participants

  • € 200 for UG students and ENLIGHT consortium

  • € 450 for practitioners

This summer school is co-financed by HARNESS Project (Promises, pitfalls and spatialization of geothermal energy as a decarbonization strategy, running between 2020-2023) funded by FORMAS Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (Project no: 2020-00825). There are 5 (full or partial) grants available for researchers from the global South to cover for tuition, travel and/or accomodation expenses. Please mention in your motivation letter if and why you request a travel grant. Travel grant applicants are required to apply by the early bird deadline (15 April 2023).

Note: An additional 5 euro fee may be applicable for credit card payments.

Academic coordinators

Dr. Ethemcan Turhan