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27 June 2023

Conference call for abstracts: Global dynamics of coal mining and just transition to hydrogen energy in South Africa and the continent

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

18–20 OCTOBER 2023

Sustainable Development Goal 7 aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, which millions of Africans don’t yet have. Coal has been a dominant energy resource in South Africa for more than a century, but along with other African countries must consider renewable energy sources to balance the effects of such a high-emitting industry.

Moreover, in pursuit of a just energy transition, South Africa’s Presidential Climate Commission is also committed to ensuring that communities tied to high-emitting industries (e.g. through employment in the coal industry) are not left behind.

South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and Namibia are looking towards green hydrogen as a potential alternative energy resource, and to achieve climate change objectives.

This conference will explore the ability of these countries to implement a just energy transition from coal to hydrogen energy with global partners and stakeholders. It will also look at ways to balance the impacts of such a shift considering current socioeconomic and economic challenges.

Abstracts may be submitted on any topic relevant to the aforementioned theme or topics below. The topics include, but are not limited to:

Extending the life of coal plants, and balancing of coal mine closures and the hydrogen economy;

Best practices of strengthening energy providers such as ESKOM and its plants; examining the impact of green hydrogen production on coal miners and skills development in mining communities;

Determine whether South Africa and the continent are politically and economically ready for total transition from coal and whether they have the requisite capacity /potential for the JET process;

Unpack the role of civil societies, women and gender in coal mining and sustainable energy in South Africa and Africa;

Renewable energy capacity, solar, decarbonisation COP27 – Loss and damages, greenhouse gas emissions, SDG-17;

Addressing loss and damages in the context of environmental challenges in countries such as Kenya;

Identify strategies for including local small, medium and micro enterprises into the hydrogen economy value chain, and linkages of the local mining communities into the hydrogen economy through local economic development strategies;

Capacity of local government (municipalities) to manage a just energy transition from coal to renewable energy, sources from a local economic development or district development model perspective;

Assess global comparative lessons from countries that are implementing or have completed significant levels of their hydrogen stages;

Discuss the socio-economic impact of shutting down mines or power plants on energy production, and surrounding communities that derive indirect benefits such as employment and informal trade;

Environmental impact of shifting from coal to the hydrogen economy given the scarce water supply in countries such as South Africa;

The practical requirements for transitioning through the Power-to-X (PtX), to  make JET to Green Hydrogen become a practical reality

Global economics of coal mining, climate change, and hydrogen energy, and;

BRICS and the Hydrogen Economy from a regional and global perspective.

Abstract and manuscript submissions:

Abstracts should be no more than 250 words long. They must be submitted to:

Draft manuscripts of accepted abstracts must be between 6000 and 8000 words.  The final manuscripts will be submitted for a hydrogen book publication.  Finally, we encourage contributions from scholars at all levels.

Abstract submission deadline: August 6, 2023

Draft manuscript submission deadline: September 30, 2023

Final draft manuscript submissions:  February 2024  

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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