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Decolonizing the Energy Transition: A Corporate led Energy Transition




By Emilia Lungu, Luck Nijland and Paulson Babila


When you hear about the energy transition, what comes to mind? Do you think of a shift towards renewable energy sources that benefit all, or do you think of large corporations leading the charge, often at the expense of local communities? Have you ever questioned who is truly benefiting from these initiatives? Is the process sustainable or does it perpetuate existing power imbalances? These are critical questions that we asked ourselves and realized we need more attention to ensure a fair and inclusive energy transition.

 

The Historical Context of Energy Transitions

 

For decades, the global energy sector has been dominated by Western corporations and governments, shaping policies and projects to serve their interests. This legacy can be traced back to the colonial era, where resource extraction and economic exploitation were rampant. Today, this dynamic persists in what some call "green colonialism," where the control over renewable energy projects remains largely in the hands of the Global North. This imbalance often results in policies and practices that overlook the needs and voices of marginalized communities, leading to ineffective and sometimes harmful outcomes.

 

Identifying the Problem


In our VC journey, we identified a significant issue: the corporate-led energy transition often marginalizes the very communities it aims to help. This realization came through extensive research, including reading the Book "Dismantling Green Colonialism" , by Hamza Hamouchene and the attendance at the World Energy Congress 2024 in Rotterdam These activities shed light to the current practices in the energy sector, highlighting the dominant western cooperate approach in this sector.

 

Key Learnings from Our Research


1.Lack of Diverse perspectives: Many renewable energy projects do not include the interests of local communities in decision-making processes, leading to policies that do not address their needs and perspectives.

2. Perpetuation of Power Imbalances: The dominance of Western corporations and governments in the energy transition maintains existing inequalities and reinforces power imbalances.

3. Hindrance to Innovation: Excluding diverse perspectives, doesn't challenge the current cooperate narrative in the energy transition process, which stifles innovation and prevents the development of comprehensive solutions to complex energy challenges, that reflect diverse interests.


To address the complexities of the energy transition and its impact on marginalized communities, we chose to create an advisory report targeting the World Energy Council (WEC). The primary focus of our report is to advocate for a panel discussion that brings diverse perspectives to the forefront. This panel discussion aims to highlight the often-overlooked viewpoints and raise awareness amongst topics that are often overlooked but need addressing. By incorporating diverse perspectives, we aim to influence decision-making processes, promote inclusivity, and ensure that the energy transition is beneficial for all. Through this advisory report, we seek to create meaningful dialogue and drive systemic change within the energy transition sector.

 

Decolonizing the energy transition is not just an ethical imperative but is essential for a sustainable energy future. By raising awareness, diversifying perspectives, and promoting effective decision-making processes, we can address these systemic issues and create a more just energy transition.

Let's work together to ensure that all voices are heard and included in shaping the energy transition.

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