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Prof Josephine K Musango
October 26, 2021 @ 17:3018:30Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences
Tackling urban household energy transition: A systems approach
Although energy transition processes are observed to work partly through urban transformation and urban practices, energy is hardly the main concern in urban planning. Urban areas are expected to play a crucial role in energy transition. With urbanisation in Africa expected to be the fastest between 2030 and 2050, when done out of context, urban energy transition assessments could result in unsustainable interventions that bring about unintended outcomes. Urban energy transition is a systemic issue embedded within technological and sustainable development. Systemic problems such as urban energy transition are complex, dynamic, uncertain and do not have a single solution, because they affect the entire system. This study explored how a systems approach could serve as a decision support tool in urban household energy transition planning. First, the study conceptualised urban energy transition as a systemic problem. Second, the study developed a generic framework termed a ‘systems approach to sustainable energy transition assessment’ (SASETA) to support measures relevant to urban energy planning. Third, the study demonstrated the application of the SASETA framework within urban household energy transition, using Drakenstein Municipality as a case study. Key insights from the study show that well-intended positive interventions to support household energy transition, such as energy subsidies, may result in socio-environmental impacts that increase inequality and impair human health. Complementary interventions that consider the cross-sector effect, such as off-grid power solutions and energy efficiency, are necessary. Future work entails integrating urban energy transition assessments through the perspective of gender equality.
Josephine Kaviti Musango has been a professor at the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University since 1 January 2020. She is the Trilateral SARChI Chairholder on Mainstreaming Gender for Energy Security in Poor Urban Environments. Josephine joined the School of Public Leadership in 2013. She previously served as a master’s coordinator in the Sustainable Development Programme from 2014 to 2019. Josephine is a skilled resource economics and system dynamics professional researcher with over 16 years’ experience. She was a senior researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory and a resource economist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. She also served as a deputy director at the former Department of Energy, where she was responsible for grid-renewable energy. Josephine is one of the founding members of the South Africa System Dynamics Chapter and serves on the International System Dynamics Society Policy Council. She has supervised 27 master’s, five PhDs and four postdoctoral candidates. Josephine has published over 60 articles in accredited journals, three books, nine book chapters and 80 papers in international and national conference proceedings. Josephine’s research interests entail using a systems approach in managing change and policy-related challenges in energy transition, the green economy, urban African energy issues and gender mainstreaming. Josephine was recently appointed to serve on the Energy Sector Gender Ministerial Advisory Council. She has four sisters and three brothers.