Call for Papers: Powering East Asia: The Challenge of a Renewable Energy Transition (2022)

The Taiwan Studies program at the University of Alberta invites proposals for papers to be presented at an international conference on “Powering East Asia: The Challenge of Renewable Energy” to be held online and in-person in Banff, Canada, in June 2022. Due to the scarcity of natural resources, societal support of decarbonization, and the recognition that renewable energy holds great promise, East Asian states have encouraged the development of renewable energy and sought to make renewables a larger portion of their overall energy mix. South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan have committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 and China has committed to the same goal by 2060. Post-Fukushima community power projects in Japan, indigenous-led efforts in Taiwan, renewable microgrids in Korea, and megawatt-level solar power plants in China demonstrate the breadth of East Asian renewable energy initiatives. Yet the rollout of green energy projects in the region has not been without challenges, including the instability and transmissibility of renewable energy, disputes over the installation of facilities in ecologically fragile areas, and the incentivization of energy production in densely populated urban areas. While China hopes to lead the renewable energy sector, in some respects Taiwan has pursued perhaps the most ambitious goals, seeking to increase its renewable energy use by four-fold in four years and become a regional center for renewable energy development. 

This conference aims to analyze the social and political contexts surrounding renewable energy initiatives in East Asia. The “Powering East Asia” conference will cover a range of topics, though papers on the following subjects are of particular interest:

  • Analysis of renewable energy projects (wind and solar), especially comparative analysis across countries, regions, and sectors or among different types of actors, e.g., state institutions, businesses, or NGOs. 
  • The role of “green finance” in facilitating renewable energy projects 
  • Inclusion (and exclusion) of indigenous communities in renewable energy initiatives  
  • Resistance to renewable energy projects, resulting from land grabs, declining property value, or ecological harm
  • Comparative greenwashing in authoritarian and/or democratic polities 
  • Competing/complementary energies and their effect on the development of renewables 
  •  Ecological, economic, or political tradeoffs of hydropower vs. fossil fuel power and nuclear vs. wind and solar 
  • Advantages/disadvantages of the use of low-carbon energy alternatives such as hydrogen power and nuclear energy during the transition to greater renewable use
  • The development of hydrogen power and promising new technologies 
  • The low-carbon promise of nuclear power and the post-Fukushima anti-nuclear movement 
  • Military tensions and rising energy insecurity in the region
  •  The race to corner cobalt, lithium, and other components of renewable energy equipment 
  • The paradox of eco-development: as more renewables become available so do more fossil fuels 

To submit a paper proposal, please complete the online application, including a paper title, author CV, and an abstract of no more than 500 words, here.  Accepted participants will have the option of attending the conference in Banff or joining virtually. The organizer will arrange accommodation for three nights in Banff and reimburse approved travel expenses to and from the conference venue. 

The deadline to submit proposals is February 15, 2022. Decisions will be announced by March 15, 2022. 

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This event is co-sponsored by the China Institute at the University of Alberta.