The Global Impact of Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JET-Ps): A Comprehensive Analysis


Over the past year, the “Just Energy Transition Partnership” (JETP) has emerged as a groundbreaking approach to tackling climate change by supporting coal-dependent emerging economies in their shift towards cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. As countries face the imperative of moving away from coal, JETPs aim to ensure this transition is not only environmentally sound but also just, addressing social consequences and creating economic opportunities for affected communities and workers.

This article examines the progress and potential pitfalls of JETPs, focusing on the recently launched JETPs in South Africa & Indonesia, and India’s Unique Approach to Energy Transition.

The Birth and Evolution of JET-Ps

The concept of Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETPs) was officially unveiled during the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26), held in Glasgow. What began as a promising initiative has since undergone significant expansion and evolution, heralding a new era in climate financing and cooperative action. Initially, the focus was on South Africa, which faced the challenges of transitioning from coal to cleaner energy sources. However, this groundbreaking model soon gained traction and extended its reach to encompass other nations grappling with similar transition dilemmas.

In addition to South Africa, countries such as India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Senegal have embraced the principles of JETPs, recognizing the transformative potential they hold for their respective energy landscapes. These partnerships have effectively harnessed the power of international cooperation and funding, providing a more agile and responsive platform for propelling the transition away from coal, one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

Compared to the often complex and protracted negotiations at global climate talks, where the interests of larger coal-producing nations could potentially obstruct swift agreements, JETPs offer a streamlined approach. By assembling a select group of committed actors, including donor countries, multilateral development banks, national development banks, and development finance agencies, JETPs facilitate a faster and more efficient process. They operate with a shared purpose: to accelerate the transition from coal to cleaner, more sustainable energy sources while addressing the social consequences involved.

The expansion of JETPs signifies an evolution in climate finance, emphasizing the importance of social equity and cooperation in achieving a just energy transition. This model not only provides a clear pathway for transitioning nations but also sends a compelling message to the broader investment community that participating governments are fully dedicated to a global shift toward clean energy. As JETPs continue to evolve and unfold, they hold the potential to set a precedent for international collaboration in combating climate change, emphasizing the urgency and efficacy of transitioning to cleaner energy sources.

Challenges and Opportunities in Implementation

While these JETPs show promise, the real test lies in their implementation. Shifting from coal to fossil gas is a contentious issue, raising questions about sustainability, economic viability, and climate impact. As global gas prices fluctuate, countries like South Africa, Indonesia, India, and Vietnam may find more security in leapfrogging from coal directly to renewable sources. Technological advancements and cost reductions in renewables have made them increasingly competitive.

South Africa and Indonesia’s Journey with JET-Ps: A Comprehensive Examination

The Social and Economic Aspects of Transition

Just transition goes beyond shifting from coal to renewables; it involves supporting affected communities and workers. Ensuring a fair transition necessitates careful planning, investment in renewable projects, and addressing the skills needed for economic diversification and job creation. Both South Africa and Indonesia have ambitious targets, but challenges like unemployment and inequality must be considered.

Urgency of the Challenge

The climate urgency pushes these countries to rapidly phase out coal in favor of renewables. However, the long lifespan of gas infrastructure presents a risk of stranded assets. Investing in gas could delay the transition and necessitate further JETPs. Thus, it is crucial to avoid investing public funds in fossil gas as a bridge away from coal.

Need for Sector Reforms

Sector reforms, including electricity tariff adjustment, carbon pricing, and strengthening sector governance, are imperative to attract private investments in renewables. Countries like Pakistan and Vietnam have successfully attracted investments by creating favorable conditions for investors. These reforms take time but are essential for a smooth transition.

Necessity of Cross-Sector Policy Alignment

Indonesia and South Africa are well-positioned to capitalize on their abundant critical minerals and integration into green global value chains. Their success hinges on maximizing local value addition and creating quality jobs within these clean energy value chains.

Leveraging Local Clean Energy Value Chains

Indonesia and South Africa are well-positioned to capitalize on their abundant critical minerals and integration into green global value chains. Their success hinges on maximizing local value addition and creating quality jobs within these clean energy value chains.

Tracking Progress and Ensuring Transparency

The JETPs for South Africa and Indonesia offer blueprints for their specific contexts. Still, numerous barriers, risks, and gaps require close monitoring and transparent disclosure of progress to ensure the goals set out in these plans can be achieved at the intended pace and scale.

India’s Unique Path to a Just Energy Transition

India, as a key player in global energy transition discussions, faces a distinctive challenge as it seeks to forge a Just Energy Transition Partnership (JET-P). The country’s trajectory toward a clean energy future differs significantly from that of industrialized nations. India’s energy transition must balance the urgent need for decarbonization with the necessity of accommodating its growing energy demands. With an emphasis on accelerating renewable energy deployment, India is pursuing ambitious targets, including 500 GW of non-fossil capacity and 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. These goals are reinforced by a variety of policy measures, incentives, and market mechanisms.

However, India’s JET strategy involves a multi-faceted approach to ensure both a rapid transition and domestic developmental priorities. First, India must accelerate renewable energy deployment rates to align with the pace of energy demand growth. Solarizing agricultural electricity use, electrifying diesel-powered small and medium enterprises, and promoting decentralized renewable energy for residential purposes are all viable options. This approach can boost rural productivity, narrow the urban-rural economic divide, create jobs, and address inter-generational and spatial inequities.

Second, India should focus on domestic manufacturing of clean energy components to enhance energy self-sufficiency, tap into green job opportunities, and compete with international markets on cost. It can achieve cost competitiveness by negotiating access to external markets as part of a JET-P agreement.

Lastly, India should explore the efficient use of coal resources to enhance capacities until a phasedown period. Optimizing coal-fired power plants’ locations to minimize transportation costs, increasing plant efficiency, and ultimately considering a cap on coal-powered generation capacity can be part of a comprehensive approach. These measures should not only address equity concerns but also create job opportunities, reduce emissions, and pave the way for a gradual coal phase-down.

As India holds the G-20 presidency, it has the unique opportunity to shape international cooperation on just energy transitions while tailoring a JET-P that aligns with its specific needs.


In conclusion, the advent of Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETPs) marks a pivotal moment in the global fight against climate change. These partnerships, initiated during COP 26, have quickly evolved and expanded, offering an innovative approach to aiding coal-dependent emerging economies in their shift toward cleaner energy sources. The inclusion of countries such as South Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam, Senegal, and India underscores the global recognition of the need for socially equitable and environmentally responsible energy transitions.

While the promise of JETPs is evident, their success depends on effective implementation. The challenges of transitioning away from coal to renewable sources, the imperative to address social and economic aspects, and the urgency of climate action all underscore the need for careful planning and commitment to just transition principles. Stranded assets, sector reforms, cross-sector policy alignment, and transparent tracking of progress are all integral to the success of these partnerships.

India, in particular, stands as a unique player in this transition, balancing its growing energy demands with a commitment to rapid decarbonization. Its multifaceted approach, focusing on accelerated renewable energy deployment, domestic manufacturing, and efficient coal resource utilization, serves as a model for addressing the complex challenges of a just energy transition.

As India takes the reins of the G-20 presidency, it is presented with an unparalleled opportunity to shape international cooperation on just energy transitions while advancing its own sustainable energy goals. The evolution of JETPs reflects a collective commitment to a greener future, emphasizing cooperation, innovation, and the urgency of transitioning to cleaner energy sources.

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