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Kendra Kintzi

Education: PhD ’23, Cornell University in Development Sociology
Cornell Adviser: Philip McMichael (CALS)
External Partner: Jerome Hodges (Jain Family Institute)
Themes: Accelerating Energy Transitions, Reducing Climate Risks

Just Power: Centering Social Equity in Southwest Asia’s Renewable Energy Transition

Kendra Kintzi is a 2023 Cornell Atkinson Postdoctoral Fellow. From electricity protests in Jordan and Lebanon to the creation of renewable ‘smart’ cities in Saudi Arabia, the region of Southwest Asia is a site of radical energy transformation. This project will develop a comparative approach to Southwest Asia’s renewable transition that can inform global research and activism, with a view to fostering equity-focused decarbonization policy and practice. This research addresses two central questions: 1) How do ongoing struggles for social equity shape the materialization of renewable energy? 2) How does the digital governance of transborder energy systems alter the stakes and strategies of these struggles? This research integrates historical and ethnographic approaches with political-economic analysis of the social equity challenges shaping regional renewable transitions. In Southwest Asia, transborder mobilizations take shape in the long shadow of the Arab Spring and pose fundamental challenges to regional power hierarchies. Given the dynamic complexity of the region’s interconnections, there is an urgent need for approaches that move beyond the nation state to make connections between regional shifts in energy production and place-based mobilizations for energy justice. This research centers a series of community-engaged workshops developed in partnership with Jain Family Institute, which will create space for radical collaboration and dialogue. Key impacts include the development of comparative approaches and engagement with activists, researchers, and practitioners to center equity in just renewable transitions. This work contributes to Atkinson’s goals of Accelerating Energy Transitions and Reducing Climate Risk, and builds dynamic partnerships between Global Development, Systems Engineering, and Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell.

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