Workshop “Exploring the energy transitions in India, South Africa and Spain” - Post-Growth innovation Lab

Workshop “Exploring the energy transitions in India, South Africa and Spain”

1st December 2023

Data: Venres, 1 de decembro de 2023
Hora: 15:00 h
Lugar: Casa das Campás (Pontevedra)

Para a información completa do Workshop, facer click aquí

Enlace para retransmisión online aquí

Este evento está organizado co apoio das Axudas Propias á Investigación da Universidade de Vigo para o ano 2023.

Resumos dos relatorios (asbstracts)

South Africa: from minerals-energy complex to a just transition?

Lucy Baker
The Open University

With a historically energy-intensive and carbon-intensive economy as part of its minerals-energy complex (MEC), South Africa is the fourteenth largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world and the largest emitter on the continent. In socio-economic terms, it is also one of the world’s most unequal countries, with a legacy of exclusion and marginalisation created by its apartheid history. Unemployment stands at 32 per cent, exacerbated by Covid 19. Coal, which accounts for approximately 75 percent of primary energy, 85 per cent of electricity generation and nearly 80 per cent of national greenhouse gas emissions, is a central resource of the MEC.

However, in recent decades the core structures of the MEC have been subject to change. Despite the continued centrality of coal to the country’s political economy, the historical influence of some of the MEC’s core features over the country’s growth path are declining in importance. New models of electricity generation based on renewable energy technologies and decentralised systems are growing in significance. Electricity prices are no longer as cheap, demand for some of the country’s high carbon exports, including locally produced iron and steel are predicted to decline, and the country’s GDP is increasingly dependent on the financial sector.

 With this context in mind, this presentation will explore key changes in South Africa’s electricity sector a within the context of the growing national and international narrative around the ‘just transition’, which has become a core discourse within national climate policy and increasingly, industrial and economic policy. Thus far however, there is no national consensus regarding how the just transition should be realised and how to manage the process of winners and losers. 

Unfair Energy Transition in Galicia: The case of wind energy

Xavier Simón

The presentation at UVIGO’s Post-Growth Inn Lab workshop will have two parts:

In a first, the framework of energy justice will be presented, considering the procedural, distributive and recognition components, adapting the framework to the development of wind farms.

Secondly, the results of the analysis of the wind energy installation process in Galicia will be presented, with special mention being made of the first two components of energy justice.

Finally, an open debate will be opened with the cases of India and SAF, highlighting that other forms of energy transition are needed, looking beyond the reduction of CO2 emissions with new energy sources.

Energy Democracy Experiments in Agrarian India

Aviram Sharma
Post-Growth Innovation Lab, University of Vigo, Spain

Energy democracy (ED) is advocated as a tool to move towards a renewable-based, just energy transition by activists and scholars in many industrialised countries. Advocates promote it as a transformative concept ensuing wider democratic engagement of diverse marginalised actors and local communities in energy governance, whereas critiques depict it as a new buzzword. The debate on energy democracy is still largely limited to Western, industrialised countries. Against this backdrop, we will analyse how the concept of ED is employed by activists, NGOs and scholars in agrarian India to drive a low-carbon transition. Rural and agrarian areas have emerged as hot spots where state and non-state actors are implementing several renewable energy-based interventions. Agrarian societies of the Global South are often divided along deep socioeconomic fault lines. Material possessions and resource use are limited, and the environmental subjectivities of the rural public are quite different from those of the post-industrial societies. In such a situation, how does the democratic participation of diverse unequal groups play out in governing the low-carbon transition envisioned by NGOs and other civil society actors? Drawing from the Dharnai experiment of Greenpeace India from rural Bihar, this paper will explore the opportunities and limitations of operationalising the concept of energy democracy in a resource-constrained, hierarchical and unequal society, which is witnessing rapid transformation. This talk will contribute to theorising energy democracy ideals in spaces beyond the liberal democracies of the West.