The transition from fossil-fuel-based energy systems to a largely renewable energy future raises a host of social and political issues. This is particularly true for Australia – a country with enormous renewable energy potential, but with a history of fossil-fuel-intensive energy use, approaching 90% in the electricity sector.
Within ANU, researchers are working on topics that include fair and just energy transitions; the social impacts of climate change and the transition to zero carbon; energy-related human rights; social licence to operate issues; and social risk.
Key questions relating to risk include - How are risks associated with existing energy systems, and their alternatives, distributed? Why do some risks capture our collective attention more than others? How best can transformation in the consumption of energy be facilitated?
In 2018 the Energy Change Institute hosted a symposium - Social Equity in the Energy Transformation. The symposium examined how the energy transformation will affect social equity, and whether the transformation process can be harnessed to reduce, rather than exacerbate, social inequities in Australia.The event brought together experts from government, business, community groups, think-tanks and academia to discuss challenges and strategies for one of the most important social transformations of modern times.