Author ORCID Identifier
Date of Award
Department or Program
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
Sarah H. Kelly
Amidst the defining issue of our time – climate change – the world faces an imperative to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, aligning with the 2015 Paris Agreement goals. This global focus on low-carbon energy infrastructure has brought forth local socio-environmental conflicts, and at the heart of this transition lies La Guajira, a peninsula in northern Colombia, home to the indigenous Wayúu people and abundant wind energy resources. This research delves into the critical role of energy justice as large-scale wind energy projects expand in La Guajira. By examining the struggles faced by the Wayúu people provoked by wind energy development in their ancestral territory, the study integrates the energy justice framework with qualitative data collected through fieldwork in Colombia. The investigation focuses on perceived injustices by Wayúu communities during indigenous consultation processes, examined in relation to procedural, distributional, and recognition justice. The research approach includes 22 semi-structured interviews with stakeholders, including community leaders, grassroots organizations, government authorities, industry representatives, and scholars; it also draws from participant observations, site visits, and policy analysis, all gathered within a collaborative research process with Wayúu female leaders. By amplifying the voices of the Wayúu people and acknowledging historical imbalances, this research aims to contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable energy transition policy in Colombia and beyond. The findings shed light on the multiple injustices endured by the Wayúu community, including the lack of recognition of their culture, biased consultation procedures, and at times reinforcing broader structural inequalities. The study advocates for restorative justice and an intersectional approach to inform energy policies and indigenous consultation laws. Achieving a just energy transition in La Guajira is paramount, not only to reconcile historical resistance against the fossil fuel industry but also to align with the urgent goals of combatting climate change. Ignoring energy justice concerns risks perpetuating grave injustices, threatening indigenous communities’ cultural integrity, livelihood, and environment.
Fajardo Mazorra, Adriana P., "The Role of Justice in Colombia’s Renewable Energy Transition: Wind Energy Development in Wayúu Territory" (2023). Dartmouth College Master’s Theses. 76.