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Fair Energy Transition Webinar Series – Webinar 5 – Prof. Dr. Tanja Winther (Include research center, University of Oslo)

March 31, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The last Thursday of each month between 16h and 17h (Dutch time; UTC+01:00), we invite a speaker to present their work on the fair energy transition.

This month Prof. Dr. Tanja Winther will share some of her work with us.

Prof. Dr. Winther will draw on her own research experience in a presentation entitled: What is fair? Reflections on energy transitions and fairness from a bottom-up perspective.


At present, calls for fair energy transition and energy justice are increasingly forwarded by policy makers as well as researchers. Given the urgency of the environmental problems, with no the time for failed measures, fairness and justice are often highlighted for pragmatic reasons: A fair transition is expected to spur social acceptance and thereby ensure effective and efficient process.

Another stance of approaches considers fairness and energy justice within an ethical framework, with the underlying ambition that energy policy and interventions should not create more social injustice. A merit of this perspective, in addition to being ethical, is that it brings global chains of injustices to the table, which are highly relevant in the realm of energy. Energy justice also draws attention to the question of responsibility, which is a complex and highly under-researched issue. However, what actually constitutes fairness and justice tends to depend on the particular perspective adopted. 

In this presentation, I adopt an open, bottom-up approach to fairness and seek to convey people’s own perceptions on ongoing energy transitions in different contexts. This includes rural Zanzibaris’ perceptions of electricity theft, gender relations and electrification processes in Kenya, and people’s responses in Norway to policies promoting energy savings, flexible electricity use and the purchasing of green certificates of origin. I end by reflecting on how lessons from grounded research can help feed into more normative discourses on fair energy transition.

Bio Dr. Tanja Winther:

Dr. Winther is a professor at the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, and Head of Include – Research centre for socially inclusive energy transitions. Include is a researh centre that produces knowledge about how to realise a socially just low-carbon society through socially inclusive processes and in close collaboration between researchers and partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors. As an anthropologist and power engineer, prof. dr. Winther has conducted research on energy in Zanzibar, Kenya, India and Norway over a period of more than twenty years.

You can join the webinar by clicking here.