Article from: OGEL 1 (2021), in Editorial
There is a new and rising trend in energy and energy use on the global scale. It is a phenomenon now commonly referred to as energy transition. Clean energy transitions as a concept represent a fundamental change in the energy sector to meet the challenges imposed by climate change. Activities in the global energy industry significantly contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As a result, the emphasis in energy transitions is on mitigating climate change by reducing GHG emissions associated with energy production and energy consumption. This may, for example, be achieved through increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix and enhancing energy efficiency. Nevertheless, the changes that come with transitions in the global energy value chain present different and diverse challenges and opportunities for all. They, for example, may raise new legal and policy questions for both governments and investors; changes in the investment flows in the energy industry (from hydrocarbons to renewables); system upgrades; the prospect of new and advance technologies and their application in both energy production and consumption; and perhaps, the reconfiguration of the regime in global energy trade.
Energy governance in the 21st century will therefore not only require the conviction necessary to drive energy transitions through both legal and policy innovations but also the flexibility in dealing with uncertainties. From this perspective, clean transitions will require political, technological, economic, social and environmental changes.
This OGEL Special Issue on Energy Transitions is targeted to providing insights that address the most compelling issues associated with energy transitions through law and policy. The topics cover a wide range of issues, starting with "Cast Away? How EU Energy Law Provides for a Just Transition for EU Islands" by Romain Mauger, which looks at how the concept of Just Transition and its use in both international and EU law present both challenges and opportunities for the concept on EU islands. The paper highlights the key role that energy communities can play for a Just Transition on EU islands. This is followed by a detailed discussion on the role of citizen energy communities (CEC) as an empowering tool and vehicle for a just energy transition in the EU with the paper on "Citizen Energy Communities as a Vehicle for a Just Energy Transition in the EU - Challenges for the Transposition" by Lea Diestelmeier. Eadbhard Pernot, in his paper "Something in the Air? Assessing the Role of Direct Air Capture in the Energy Transition", looks at how the current EU legislative framework for energy and climate could impede achieving decarbonisation targets. From the EU to the Russian Arctic, the paper, "Energy Development in the Russian Arctic: Examining the Russian Energy Strategy and the Development of the Northern Sea Route in the Context of Geopolitical Competition" by Aaron M Cooper, examines the geopolitical significance of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and how its development impacts expansion of Russian influence in the Arctic.
The protection of rights and achieving just transitions are some of the key issues governments grapple with as they continue to adopt climate change interventions agendas. In this regard, Ademola Oluborode Jegede, in his paper "Should They 'Just' Leave? Global Energy Transition, Climate Change and the Protection of Workers' Rights in South Africa" examines how existing domestic legal framework may assist in achieving a transition that safeguards rights of existing workers in the fossil sector in South Africa. Following this is an examination of the regulatory issues concerning the integration of renewable energy in the total electricity generation mix in Gambia by Nana Asare Obeng-Darko with his paper, titled "Regulatory Considerations to Renewable Energy Development in The Gambia". Still on subject of transitions in Africa, the paper, "Understanding the Energy Transition Terrain in Kenya" by Thuo Njoroge Daniel and Eric Mwangi, provides a situational analysis of the energy sector in Kenya by examining the composition of energy sources, strategies, and policies on energy efficiency in the sector. In their paper, titled "Harnessing Stand-Alone Bio-Energies in Nigeria: Some Policy and Regulatory Considerations", Michael Ukponu and Kester Oyibo, on drawing lessons from Germany and Kenya, explore the case for stand-alone (off-grid) bio-energy systems as a viable and sustainable solution to Nigeria's energy crisis by emphasising the unique socio-economic and environmental values of bio-energies for rural and remote dwellers.
Dinita Setyawati, in her article, "Contested Hegemony of Indonesia Energy Regulatory Regime: Challenges and Prospects for the Deployment of Renewable Energy", considers how political power influence energy transition in Indonesia. She analyses how the energy regulatory regime in Indonesia supports the fossil fuel industries' control over the energy system.
In an opinion piece, "The Global Energy Transition - Views from Energy Economists" James Dorian, Malcolm Shealy and Dale Simbeck explores some of the key questions and key realities surrounding the global energy transition and the big uncertainties that lie ahead.
With the final submission in this Special Issue, Nana Asare Obeng-Darko reviews a book titled "Decarbonising Energy: The Path to Net Zero" by Hugo Lidbetter (Global Law and Business, 2020).
Nana Asare Obeng-Darko. Center for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law (CCEEL) at the UEF Law School, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland.
The editor would like to thank the Organising Team of the 'Energy Transition 2020' - conference. Special mention goes to Eetu Huhta, Katariina Särkänne and Kaisa Huhta, all from the UEF Law School.