Jesse Burton is a senior researcher in the Energy Systems Research group at the University of Cape Town and a senior associate at global thinktank E3G, where she provides analysis and policy advice on coal transitions globally. She is a specialist in coal and electricity markets and energy and climate change policy in South Africa. Her research focuses on the challenges and opportunities of the energy transition for coal dependent countries. Jesse has been involved in the development of Just Transition strategic plans for the South African government at national and provincial level. She was a member of the Secretariat of the Just Energy Transition Partnership, a world first approach to financing Just Transition, and was part of the team that drafted the country’s Just Energy Transition Investment Plan under the Partnership.
Her research has quantified and examined the politics of fossil fuel subsidies in South Africa, the cost and greenhouse gas implications of future coal investments, the costs and risks of stranded assets in the South African energy sector, and the economics of coal-fired power and coal mining. Recent projects have included the development of an electricity plan for South Africa in the context of global climate policy goals and air quality compliance, analysis of the employment and skills impacts of future electricity pathways, and strategies for implementing a just transition for coal workers and communities in South Africa.She has lectured widely at postgraduate level on energy and climate change topics, including convening the 'Introduction to Energy Policy and Sustainable Energy Engineering' course and coordinating the postgraduate programme at the (former) Energy Research Centre at UCT.
She is visiting ANU in October-November 2023 and Feb-March 2024 as an Australia Awards Fellow. The Fellowship focuses on exploring Australia's experience with implementing just transition interventions in the coal value chain and in the operation of power systems with high shares of variable renewable energy.