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The energy transition in South Africa: Shared challenges and opportunities for collaboration

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Event description

Please join us to hear from Jesse Burton about South Africa's unique challenges in transitioning its energy system, as well as what our two countries might have in common.

This seminar will be in-person at the ANU campus in Canberra and online via Zoom. We will also hear from Professor Frank Jotzo and there will be an opportunity for questions from the audience.


About the seminar

South Africa and Australia are fossil-fuel dependent, resource-rich, mining economies. In South Africa, poverty and inequality and local economic reliance on coal create emerging tensions around coal plant closures and put ‘just transition’ issues at the core of energy and climate change policy.

South Africa must manage high levels of energy poverty and an electricity security crisis driven by an underperforming coal fleet and exacerbated by under-investment in new grid capacity and renewables deployment.

At the same time, regional and local economies highly dependent on coal are beginning to put in place policies and plan holistically for a just transition – including national, regional, and local planning entities such as the Presidential Climate Commission, local development agencies, and asset closure plans that may offer examples to other coal countries of necessary institutional strengthening for the transition. The transition to clean energy and net zero carbon emissions also offers considerable opportunities in both countries, especially in critical minerals and in green hydrogen and derived product exports. The seminar will introduce the South African energy and climate policy context, areas of overlap with Australian  policy, and key areas for future collaboration and learning between the two countries.

About Jesse Burton

Jesse Burton is a senior researcher in the Energy Systems Research group at the University of Cape Town and a senior associate at global thinktank E3G, where she provides analysis and policy advice on coal transitions globally. She is a specialist in coal and electricity markets and energy and climate change policy in South Africa. Her research focuses on the challenges and opportunities of the energy transition for coal dependent countries. She is visiting ANU in October-November 2023 and Feb-March 2024 as an Australia Awards Fellow. The Fellowship focuses on exploring Australia's experience with implementing just transition interventions in the coal value chain and in the operation of power systems with high shares of variable renewable energy.

More information:

  • Please click here for more information on getting to our events.
  • This is a hybrid event with the option to join online via Zoom or in-person at the ANU Acton campus.
  • By registering for this event you are also subscribing to the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions mailing list. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe button at the bottom of correspondence. Find out more information in the Event registration privacy notice
  • Featured image: Cooling Towers of the Kendal Power Station, Mpumalanga, South Africa by Michelle Hart/Pexels

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