The world is at a pivotal crossroad in terms of energy decisions. One needs only to look at Congressional negotiations on the infrastructure and reconciliation packages, or the Conference of Parties Meeting that will be held in Glasgow. Today’s priorities emphasize net zero targets, as well as clean energy jobs and infrastructure. However, no single or clear solution exists on the way in which to carry out such a shift at local and broader levels. Traditional energy planning has revolved around limited cost projections that often fail to take interactions of a wider set of factors into account. The good news is that evidence does exist on such change in case studies of different countries shifting toward low-carbon energy approaches. In fact, decarbonizing shifts can occur quite quickly at times, alongside industrial and societal advances, innovation, and policy learning.
For this colloquium presentation, Dr. Kathleen Araújo draws on multi-year research that produced Low Carbon Energy Transitions: Turning Points in National Policy and Innovation plus ongoing studies that examine the theory and practice of energy systems change. She takes an in-depth look at energy transitions that have occurred since the global oil crisis of 1973, arguing that significant nationwide shifts to low-carbon energy can occur in under fifteen years, and that technological complexity is not necessarily a major impediment to such shifts.