Dr Gilles Lepesant | Researcher

Mobilities, Migrations, Reconfiguration of Spaces
Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, D-10117 Berlin
Email: lepesant  ( at )  cmb.hu-berlin.de Tel: +49(0) 30 / 20 93 70700

Home Institution : CNRS | Position : Senior researcher | Disciplines : Geography |


Gilles is Senior researcher at CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/National Center for Scientific Research) in geography and Associate fellow at the Asian Energy Studies Centre (Hong Kong Baptist University). He is also Lecturer at CIFE (Centre international de formation européenne - Master in Global Energy Transition and Governance - Nice/Berlin). Before joining the CNRS, Gilles spent 3 years in Berlin (at WZB-Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung), 18 months in Prague (Cefres-Centre français de recherche en sciences sociales) and 2 years in Warsaw (at College of Europe, Natolin).


Research projects (selected)

•         2017-2019. Project leader for the project : “Renewable energies : structuring of new value-chains at the local level : case studies across Europe”. Study commissioned by CDC (Caisse des dépôts et consignations). Managing authority : CERI (Centre de recherches internationales - Sciences-Po/CNRS).

•         2017-2018. Défi OASIC, AAP 2017, Project MINECO (« Prospective pour les usages, à long terme, des ressources non renouvelables et critiques pour les semi-conducteurs »). Project leader : LIED (CNRS/Université Paris Diderot).

•         2014-2018. Project leader of CITÉ (Cohésion et Identité sur le Territoire Européen), programme Sociétés plurielles (interdisciplinary programme Université Sorbonne-Paris-Cité). Research focus: Energy transition at the urban level across Europe.

•         2015-2016. Project “The implementation of the EU renewable energy policy at the subnational level: How to navigate between conflicting interests ?” Research programme "The political economy of clean energy transitions" initiated by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Multi-level analysis of energy transitions in the EU

The research investigates the spatial dimension of the energy transition in Europe induced by the uptake of renewables.

Globally, the spatial distribution of critical metals introduces new patterns to an energy geography so far dominated by geopolitics around oil and gas resources. At the European level, energy systems are complex networks of technology, markets and regulations that are initiated at the EU and at the national level with different implementation strategies at the local and regional level. Indeed, the rise of renewable energies, the opening-up of the national markets, the emergence of regional markets (Nordpool) and the strengthening of interconnections between Member States have affected the spatial organisation of the European energy system. At the national level, decentralized energy production supported by regulatory changes and by the uptake of renewables are new challenges for State authorities and distributors.

At the Marc Bloch Center, the project focuses more precisely on two aspects.

On one hand, the project focuses on the factors that may support new manufacturing clusters in the wind and photovoltaic sectors. The research aims at highlighting the factors that, at different scales, inhibit or facilitate initiatives taken to build-up such clusters in specific areas located in France, in Germany (in coastal cities and in the “Solar Valley”) as well as in Denmark.

On the other hand, the technical specificities of renewable energies added to the European regulatory framework, to national regulations and to local initiatives lead to an increasingly decentralized energy production, and thus to a new geography of energy in the Member States. The interplay between EU directives, national regulations and local initiatives is more precisely investigated in the case of Germany though the following issues : spatial planning, social acceptance related conflicts, challenges raised at the local level by the phasing-out of coal and nuclear.

The research carried out refers to several theoretical approaches (multi-level governance, Europeanization, Socio-technical regimes, industrial geography) and aims at providing an input to the body of literature dedicated to the new geographies of energy.


Books (selected) :

  • Gilles Lepesant (Dir.) (2018), Énergies nouvelles, territoires autonomes ?, Presses de l’INALCO, Paris. http://www.inalco.fr/publication/energies-nouvelles-territoires-autonomes.

Contributions to Edited Volumes (selected) :


  • Gilles Lepesant (2017), « Implementing EU renewable energy policy at the subnational level - Navigating between conflicting interests », in Douglas Arent, Channing Arndt, Mackay Miller, Finn Tarp, and Owen Zinaman (eds), The Political Economy of Clean Energy Transitions, Oxford University Press.

Journal papers (selected) :

  • Gilles Lepesant (2018), La transition énergétique face au défi des métaux critiques, Études de l’IFRI (Institut français de relations internationales), Paris, janvier.


  • Marianne Cohen, Gilles Lepesant, Farida Lamari, Clelia Bilodeau, Petra Benyei, Stéphane Angles, Julien Bouillon, Kevin Bourrand, Ramla Landoulsi, Delphine Jaboeuf, Maria Alonso-Roldán, Isidro Espadas-Tormo, Veronica Belandria, Philippe Silar, Moussa Dicko (2017), « Biomolecules from olive pruning waste in Sierra Mágina – Engaging the energy transition by multi-actor and multidisciplinary analyses », Journal of Environmental Management. Publication en ligne : 12 avril 2017. http://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0301479717302827



  • Gilles Lepesant (2016), « Entre Russie et Union européenne, un "entre-deux" énergétique ». In: Regards sur l'Eurasie. L'année politique 2015, Les Études du CERI, (Sous la direction de Anne de Tinguy), n°219-220. http://www.sciencespo.fr/ceri/fr/content/regards-sur-l-eurasie-l-annee-politique-2015-0.