Making the New Energy System Fair

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Monday 2 July 2018
6.00 - 7.30pm

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Law School Foyer, Eastern Ave, University of Sydney



Sydney Ideas

Part three of the Living in a Warming World series convened by Dr Frances Flanagan and Michelle St Anne.

It is inarguable that Australia needs to urgently transition from a fossil fuel, to a renewables-based energy system if it is to play its part in avoiding catastrophic climate change. Such a transition, though, cannot be undertaken in a purely technical manner, through the direct and straightforward substitution of one energy source for another.  Land must be made available for wind and solar farms, solar panels and mills must be constructed and installed, and decisions must be made about the way our new energy systems are owned and distributed.

This event brings together policy experts, activists and academics to ask what conceptual frameworks we should we be reaching for in trying to build a renewable energy system that is fair. What are the opportunities that exist for democratising the ownership and control of energy generation in the shift to a new system based on renewables?  What might a genuinely ‘progressive energy’ system look like, that takes into account differences in citizens’ ‘capacity to cope’ with extreme weather, and takes into account the double penalty suffered by poorer Australians who tend to live in areas afflicted by more extreme temperatures and must pay a larger proportion of their incomes to cool their homes? How could representation on energy boards be better shared around?



Dr. Amanda Cahill, CEO, The Next Economy
Godfrey Moase, Ass General Branch Secretary, National Union of Workers
Joseph Scales, National Director, Solar Citizens

Series Chair

Professor Christopher Wright, University of Sydney Business School


Amanda Cahill is the CEO of The Next Economy. Originally trained in Anthropology, she has spent over two decades working with communities across Australia, Asia and the Pacific on projects designed to develop more equitable and sustainable local economies. Over the last few years she has been working with coal and gas affected communities in Australia to develop economic transition plans that will move Australia closer to zero emissions in socially just ways. Amanda has a PhD in Human Geography from the Australian National University, an Adjunct Lecturer position at the University of Queensland and also helped found the New Economy Network of Australia.

Godfrey Moase is the Assistant General Branch Secretary at the National Union of Workers in Melbourne, Australia and is co-founder of Cooperative Power Australia. He’s previously written for the Guardian, Overland, Jacobin, Griffith Review, and New Matilda. On Twitter he’s @gemoase.

Joseph Scales is the National Director of Solar Citizens, an independent, community-based organisation bringing together millions of solar owners and supporters to grow and protect solar in Australia.  Joseph is long term advocate and campaigner, in areas as diverse as workers’ rights, industry reform and LGBTI equality.  Prior to joining Solar Citizens, Joseph was Secretary of the Australian Services Union – SA + NT Branch, where he was a champion in the union movement for a just transition for coal communities. Joseph led the ASU’s work on the Repower Port Augusta campaign, which has resulted in one of the world’s largest solar thermal with storage plants being built in Port Augusta.

He is a Non-Executive Director of a financial services institution, exposing him to the benefits and importance of business acting on climate change; and was previously a member of the South Australian Premier’s Climate Change Council, providing independent advice to the state government on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change.

Christopher Wright is Professor of Organisational Studies and a member of the Discipline of Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Sydney Business School. His research explores organizational and societal responses to climate change, with particular reference to how managers and business organizations interpret and respond to the climate crisis. He has published on this topic in relation to issues of corporate citizenship, emotionology, organizational justification and compromise, risk, identity and future imaginings. He is the author of the book Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction (Cambridge Uni Press, 2015).