Latest News

A new paper  by Lucy Baker published in Geoforum: The evolving role of finance in South Africa’s electricity sector

Lucy Baker gave a presentation on her research in South Africa to the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Manchester on 25 June 2015

A blog post by Lucy Baker, in The Conversation Africa: South Africa’s renewable energy plan needs a close eye.

A blog post by Lucy Baker published by the Energy Collective, Opportunity and crisis in South Africa’s electricity sector

Lucy Baker and Holle Wlokas have published a working paper available on the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre’s website, “South Africa’s renewable energy procurement: a new frontier”. An earlier version of this paper was published as a Tyndall Centre working paper in June 2014

Peter Newell and Lucy Baker attended the conference Critical perspectives on the financialisation of nature- theory, politics and practice hosted by the Centre for Global Political Economy and the STEPS Centre of the University of Sussex, 19-20 March 2015. Lucy Baker gave a paper presentation entitled ‘The evolving role of finance in South Africa’s renewable energy sector’ and Peter Newell was a discussant at the session on ‘Energy and finance: infrastructure and technology.

Lucy Baker has published a blog on South Africa’s electricity supply-side crisis for the University of Sussex’s Science Policy Research Unit

A new paper by Lucy Baker in Review of African Political Economy, published online 27 November 2014, “Renewable energy in South Africa’s minerals-energy complex: a ‘low-carbon transition’?

Josh Kirshner presented at the Energy for Development seminar, held at Durham University on 1 December 2014. Interdisciplinary researchers in the field of Energy for Development will be reforming this group to build on the impressive contribution Durham has made in the last three years through the Low Carbon Energy for Development Network ( and the DFID/EPSRC funded Understanding Sustainable Energy Solutions programme. In this seminar, participants shared information about current projects and discussed ways of communicating interdisciplinary understandings of energy issues in the Global South, including plans for showing some films of our work. Kirshner presented findings from the field on the challenges of community energy planning in Mozambique.

Lucy Baker from the University of Sussex presented her research findings at a public seminar held at the Energy Research Centre of the University of Cape Town, 10 November 2014. The seminar, “Renewable energy procurement: a new frontier?” discussed the political economy of South Africa’s renewable energy independent power producers’ programme (RE IPPPP). This included the nature of project finance, project ownership, technology development and concerns over the economic and community development aspects of the programme. The seminar was attended by academia, civil society and Green Cape, a sector development agency set up by the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town.

Peter Newell attended the workshop: “Emerging Trends in International Development Aid and Policy” at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, October 29, 2014. Key speakers included Shantanu Mitra, Senior Economic Advisor, Department for International Development (DfID), China; Stefan Dercon, Chief Economist, DfID; Kang Bingjian, Director of Ministry of Commerce, China.

Josh Kirshner gave a paper presentation on “Mining and Extractive Urbanism: Developments in a Mozambican Boomtown” in the Geology for Global Development lecture series, Earth Sciences Department, University of Durham, October 22, 2014. Geology for Global Development (GfGD) is a student group at Durham that is dedicated to promoting sustainable development and exploring the social impacts of geology.

Josh Kirshner discussed his ideas on “The BRICS, Extractive Urbanism and Contestations in Southern Africa” in the Urban Worlds brown bag lunch talks, University of Durham, October 21, 2014. Other participants in the session were Dr Colin McFarlane, Professor Simon Marvin, and Dr Sandy Marshall.

Lucy Baker gave a paper presentation on “Renewable energy manufacturing and South Africa’s minerals-energy complex” at the annual conference of the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy, Naples, 16-18 September 2014

Lucy Baker taught on the University of East Anglia’s climate change and development short course, leading the module on  ‘low carbon development’

Professors Peter Newell and Harriet Bulkeley gave a paper presentation on “Reconceptualising energy transitions in Southern Africa: the role of the ‘rising powers’” at the 2014 conference on Earth System Governance: Access and Allocation in the Anthropocene, at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, July 2014

Lucy Baker (University of Sussex) and Holle Wlokas (University of Cape Town) authored a working paper published by Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, “South Africa’s renewable energy procurement: a new frontier?“, June 2014

Peter Newell and Josh Kirshner presented an overview and initial findings from the project to a workshop in Brasilia on April 23rd, hosted by our project partner CGEE (Centro de Gestao e Estudos Estrategicos). The workshop was attended by over 25 high-level officials from across the Brazilian government, as well as some leading private companies and researchers from the biofuels sector in Brazil. The event provided a valuable opportunity to receive feedback, stimulate debate and engage key stakeholders with the ESRC Rising Powers project.

A new paper by Adrian Smith tells the story of the ‘socially useful production’ movement in the 1970s and 80s, in particular the Lucas Plan, and its lessons for how we might think about democratising technology today.

A new paper by Lucy Baker, Peter Newell and Jon Philips in New Political Economy entitled, ‘the Political Economy of Energy Transitions: the case of South Africa

Lucy Baker presented her work at a seminar & roundtable discussion ‘Towards energy transitions in Southern Africa’ organised by the Wits Business School and the Global Change & Sustainability Research Institute in Johannesburg on Tuesday November 19, 2013.

Marcus Power presented a paper to the Centre for African Studies at Edinburgh University on November 20th 2013 entitled ‘(Re)conceptualising energy Transitions in Southern Africa: the role of the ‘Rising Powers’’.

Lucy Baker taught on the University of East Anglia’s climate change and development short course. Lucy led the module on ‘low carbon development’ which explored: definitions of low-carbon development; financing; energy poverty; energy policy and political economy; and contradictions between ‘sustainable’ and low-carbon development.

Lucy Baker gave a paper presentation entitled ‘Governing transformation? Climate
Finance in South Africa’s electricity sector’ at the Royal Geographical Society’s annual conference in London, 30 August 2013. Her presentation was on the panel, New Energy Frontiers: Perspectives on the Global South.

Joshua Kirshner and  Lucy Baker presented a paper entitled ‘Energy Transitions in the Global South: the Role of the “Rising Powers” in Southern Africa ‘ at the Royal Geographical Society’s annual conference in London, 30 August 2013. Their presentation, based on a paper co-authored by the project team was on a panel entitled, New Energy Frontiers: Perspectives on the Global South.

Lucy Baker presented a paper at the annual conference of the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy Conference in The Hague (9-11 July 2013). Her presentation, entitled ‘Low carbon transitions in South Africa’s minerals-energy complex? The case of the wind industry’ was on a panel organised by the working group on minerals-energy complex and comparative industrialisation.

On 3 July 2013 Lucy Baker gave a seminar at the University of Sussex’s Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) on ‘South Africa’s minerals-energy complex: rising powers and renewable energy‘. This was followed by an animated debate on definitions of political economy and its relevance for socio-technical transitions, and some of the differences between ‘low-carbon’ development and pro-poor energy.

Peter Newell was a speaker at the Society in the Anthropocene conference, held by the Cabot Institute of the Bristol University, 24-24 June 2013. He gave a paper on: The Political Economy of (Climate) Change: The Politics of Low Carbon Transition & Transformation.

Lucy Baker attended the Low Carbon Energy for Development Network meeting, in London, 24-25 June 2013. This meeting discussed ‘private sector roles in low carbon energy solutions to the climate challenge’.

Josh Kirshner attended the ESRC/Centre for Business and Public Sector Ethics one-day seminar on Brazil as an Emerging Power, at Cambridge University, 24 June 2013. The seminar featured a range of voices on Brazil’s increasing global economic and political influence, including Peter Collecott, British Ambassador to Brazil (2004-2008), Jacqueline Campos, Managing Director or Petrobras Europe Ltd, and Mansueto Almeida, Jr, Institute for Applied Economics Research (IPEA) in Brasília.

Josh Kirshner attended the Emerging Powers in Africa Forum in the Department of Politics and IR at Oxford University, 22 June 2013. The event was hosted by the Oxford University China Africa Network (OUCAN) and the Alpha Professional Network. The conference’s aim was to explore new opportunities for investment and development in Africa, not only from China but from other emerging economies. Plenary Session 1 focused on Global Entrepreneurs and Local Linkages in Africa Markets, and Plenary Session 2 concentrated on New Actors and Strategy in Africa’s SME Sector.

Lucy Baker attended a workshop at Chatham House on ‘Trilateral Cooperation on Low Carbon Zones in Africa: the political economy of low carbon development’ on 17 June 2013.

Royal-SocietyThe project team from Durham and Sussex, overseas partners, and advisory group held a workshop at the Royal Society in London on 4 June 2013. This was our first meeting with our partners from University in Cape Town, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Centre for Policy and Management Studies (CGEE) in Brazil, plus our Advisory Group, which includes academics, UK government officials, and practitioners. We discussed our research methods and objectives, our project database, and our plans for community-based participatory research and knowledge transfer.

Book Review by Lucy Baker in the journal International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, on Just transitions: explorations of sustainability in an unfair worldby Mark Swilling and Eve Annecke, United Nations University Press.

Book review by Joshua Kirshner in the Journal of Asian and African Studies, on Cities with ‘Slums’: From Informal Settlement Eradication to a Right to the City in Africa, by Marie Huchzermeyer, University of Cape Town Press.

Peter Newell and Lucy Baker presented at the workshop Theorising Governance Change for a Sustainable Economy on 30 April 2013 in London. The workshop was organised by the Innovation, Governance and Affordability for a Sustainable Secure Economy (IGov) group, of the University of Exeter.