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Just Energy Transition: Learning from the Past for a More Just and Sustainable Hydrogen Transition in West Africa


The rising demand for energy and the aim of moving away from fossil fuels and to low-carbon power have led many countries to move to alternative sources including solar energy, wind, geothermal energy, biomass, and hydrogen. Hydrogen is often considered a “missing link” in guaranteeing the energy transition, providing storage, and covering the volatility and intermittency of renewable energy generation. However, due to potential injustice with regard to the distribution of risks, benefits, and costs (i.e., in regard to competing for land use), the large-scale deployment of hydrogen is a contested policy issue. This paper draws from a historical analysis of past energy projects to contribute to a more informed policy-making process toward a more just transition to the hydrogen economy. We perform a systematic literature review to identify relevant conflict factors that can influence the outcome of hydrogen energy transition projects in selected Economic Community of West African States countries, namely Nigeria and Mali. To better address potential challenges, policymakers must not only facilitate technology development, access, and market structures for hydrogen energy policies but also focus on energy access to affected communities. Further research should monitor hydrogen implementation with a special focus on societal impacts in producing countries.

Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics

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