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Sustainability Events

Just Transitions for Coal-Dependent Communities in the Southwest

Paul Hirt

  • Senior Sustainability Scholar, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability

Kris Mayes

  • Co-Director, Energy Policy Innovation Council
  • Director, Utility of the Future Center

Clark Miller

  • Director, Center for Energy & Society

Gary Dirks

  • Director, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability

All over the world nations have begun rapidly shifting from investments in coal-fired power to investments in renewable energy. Wind and solar are now cheaper than the alternatives in most markets and affordable battery storage is making these energy resources increasingly capable of replacing traditional fossil generation. Consequently, utilities are retiring coal plants at an unprecedented rate, necessitating the closure of many of the associated coal mines. This is good news for the climate, but bad news for many rural communities across the US and globally. What is our social obligation to those communities that will be affected by coal plant and mine closures? What are the best means by which we can fight climate change while also protecting the future viability of rural communities in coal country? These questions will be addressed at a Just Transitions workshop where experts from all over the U.S. will reflect on the declining outlook for coal, the challenges that energy transition poses for rural communities, best practices for addressing those challenges, and the role of government in planning and assisting a “just transition.”

Eighteen guest experts representing policy makers, administrators, businesses, NGOs, and communities will speak on four panels moderated by four leading energy scholars from ASU. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to learn about the energy transition from leading scholars and practitioners working on the vanguard of Just Transitions policy.

Lunch will be provided. RSVP required.

Workshop Agenda

Introduction to workshop and thanks to sponsors (8:30 - 8:45 a.m.)

Session 1 (8:45 - 9:15 a.m.): The potential scope and scale of coal plant and mine closures in the U.S. from now to 2030. Moderator: Clark Miller

Session 2 (9:15 - 10:15 a.m.): The transition challenges being faced by coal-dependent communities and the roles of NGOs in community advocacy (current examples and future projections) Moderator: Paul Hirt

15-min break 10:15 - 10:30 a.m.

Session 3 (10:30-11:45 a.m.): Current transition assistance models and best practices (including workforce development, alternative economic development, renewable energy development, etc.) Moderator: Kris Mayes

Lunch Break (11:45 a.m .- 12:30 p.m.)

Session 4: (12:30 - 2:00 p.m.): The role of governing institutions in advancing comprehensive planning and assistance for just transitions. Moderator: Gary Dirks

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
8:30 a.m. - 2.00 p.m.