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Journal Articles Energy, Sustainability and Society Year : 2023

Does agrivoltaism reconcile energy and agriculture? Lessons from a French case study


Agrivoltaism is presented as an innovative production system that may combine agricultural activity and energy production on the same parcel of land. The deployment of this innovation has already begun in France as part of the energy transition initiatives, and many actors consider that its deployment only depends on social acceptance issues. However, given that agrivoltaism cuts across the agricultural and energy sectors, social, technical, and political concerns have arisen. While these concerns are primarily reflected in conflict and opposition, the problem goes far beyond the simple question of social acceptance. Indeed, it relates to the dynamics of innovation and governance, structured in different arenas at different scales that shape how this innovation is deployed. The authors conducted a qualitative study revolving around three methodological approaches: a press analysis, a review of scientific literature, and fieldwork in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques district in France. Drawing on the case of a disputed project, several semi-structured interviews were conducted. These interviews explored how the public sector, institutions, energy companies, and local farmers perceive the development of agrivoltaics and how they organise the dynamics of governance to control its deployment. Our analysis highlights four main results: (i) agrivoltaism is an innovation conceptualised in techno-scientific arenas which seek to define its agricultural viability; (ii) at the national level, the remote control by the State does not provide a framework for governance capable of involving the various actors in the fields of agriculture and energy; (iii) the deployment of agrivoltaism systems across regions engenders conflict while placing key local actors in a situation of uncertainty with regard to how best to manage this innovation; (iv) while individuals are subjected to territorialisation, this paradoxically favours structural policy innovations which outline the contours of territorial governance. This study shows that agrivoltaism is the result of interactions between techno-scientific actors in the energy and agricultural fields. However, its political backing in France does not promote dynamics of governance capable of bringing these two fields together. At the local level, the deployment of agrivoltaism has faced opposition, but it has also led to the organisation of territorial governance strategies involving actors and institutions from different sectors.
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hal-04086589 , version 1 (02-05-2023)



Romain Carrausse, Xavier Arnauld de Sartre. Does agrivoltaism reconcile energy and agriculture? Lessons from a French case study. Energy, Sustainability and Society, 2023, 13 (1), pp.8. ⟨10.1186/s13705-023-00387-3⟩. ⟨hal-04086589⟩
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