WHAT IS A ‘ JUST TRANSITION ’?
Enlit Europe ’ s content directors offer their perspective fotogestoeber © 123RF . com
It is widely accepted that the energy transition involves a seismic change in the landscape of the sector on a scale not seen since origins of a centralised power grid .
Increasingly competitive renewable energy sources are usurping fossil fuels and reducing the industry ’ s impact on climate change .
However , the uprooting of traditional business models risks adverse consequences , so this transition must be carried out in a way that achieves its goals , while at the same time , minimizing negative impacts .
To deliver a just transition it will be necessary to play fair by those whose livelihoods and environments are impacted , most obviously , those employed in the shrinking coal mining industry and those working in coal and nuclear generation , plus there needs to be a recognition of how the transition affects different geographical regions .
There must be a focus on re-purposing and reskilling in a way that that creates new industries and new jobs .
To address this , the European Commission has created a Just Transition Mechanism and set aside € 7.5 billion of fresh EU funds that the Member States can use to alleviate the socioeconomic impact of the transition .
The new energy landscape is shaping up to be far more decentralized and therefore control and influence will logically be in the hands of more people , communities and companies .
This democratization of energy will extend right down to household level where home EV smart charging , storage and generation will empower end consumers .
Sounds great , but the risk is that in empowering consumers , it will be the more affluent in society who will benefit and that it potentially disenfranchises those without the financial wherewithal to participate . If the transition is to be fair , then this imbalance must be prevented .
Given that renewable energy resources are more evenly distributed around the globe than oil , gas and coal we can look forward to a more even spread of economic value from energy production .
However , there remains a real risk of exploitation of environments and people , given that other commodities will be in huge demand to enable