Dec 01 2022

Navigating Australia’s energy transformation

Recent state-based energy plans and announcements of the acceleration of some coal plant closures has again raised questions of how best to manage the energy transition for communities and workers. This week reported analysis has pointed to potential impacts if careful planning and support for affected regions in New South Wales is not undertaken.

There is also an increasing number of case studies, both internationally and locally, that can help illustrate the options towards achieving a just transition.  To take advantage of that work the Australian Energy Council commissioned consulting and advisory firm, Strategen, to undertake a wide-ranging review of overseas and Australian experience and distil relevant insights for Australia. Today we are releasing the resulting report, which will provide an invaluable resource.

The report Just Transition – Navigating Australia’s Energy Transformation – considers Australia’s current approach and possible future Just Transition outcomes. In doing so it considers the following questions:

  • Where we are now? Australia’s transition experience and emerging challenges.
  • Where are we going? Targeting enhanced future outcomes for Australian workers and regions.
  • How do we get there? Just Transition design, resourcing and implementation.

Strategen’s work establishes some statements of aspiration, which includes that regional empowerment and national alignment on Just Transition could be achieved through layered, inclusive and collaborative governance, vision setting and resourcing models. Meanwhile, it notes the negative impact of plant closures can be mitigated and positive opportunities and benefits for regions, workers and industry can be realised through multi-year planning and preparation.

Case studies from around the world and here in Australia illustrate the difference in outcomes when there is a strong government focus on supporting those affected.  The report finds government engagement and resourcing is an essential part in advancing Just Transition, particularly when it also empowers local communities and workers impacted and permits maximum autonomy for them to choose their own future.

Structured financial support directed to impacted regions and workers in a way that respects local differences, opportunities and empowerment.  Impacted workers will need to be actively supported in the transition to provide security and avoid their skills being lost to the wider community.

Proactive and timely transition planning in the years prior to closure is absolutely necessary for success along with comprehensive and broad engagement with key stakeholders, while near and longer term solutions are needed and should work together.

The report can be found here. We believe it will provide a useful reference for what has gone before and what is coming.

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