2017 Australian Institute of Building (AIB) Address
“Adapting to a sustainable energy future: The role of planning and environmental law”
by the Hon. Justice Brian J Preston SC
Climate change demands the transition from a fossil fuel energy dependent economy to a renewable energy dependent economy. The law will play an important role in either facilitating or delaying this economic transition. Of the many areas of law which shape and regulate the use of energy, planning and environmental law will be particularly important. Are planning and environmental laws well-equipped to promote, rather than impede, this transition towards a sustainable energy future?
The address will first establish the context of how energy use and the energy market are predicted to change over the next three decades. From this foundation, the address will focus on how planning and environmental law regulates three aspects: large scale renewable development (wind farms), small scale renewable development (solar PV energy systems) and standards for building design and energy efficiency. Are the existing laws facilitating the transition to renewable energy? Are these laws able to flexibly adapt and respond as the renewable energy transition becomes more rapid in the future? How well does the law balance the need to promote renewable energy development, energy efficiency and resilient cities against the potential adverse consequences of doing so? These questions and others need to be considered in order to ascertain whether society and the economy will successfully adapt to a sustainable future.
About The Hon. Justice Brian J Preston SC
Justice Preston is the Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales. Prior to being appointed in November 2005, he was a senior counsel practising primarily in New South Wales in environmental, planning, administrative and property law. He has lectured in post-graduate environmental law for over 25 years. He is the author of Australia’s first book on environmental litigation and 101 articles, book chapters and reviews on environmental law, administrative and criminal law. He holds numerous editorial positions in environmental law publications and has been involved in a number of international environmental consultancies and capacity-building programs, including for judiciaries throughout Asia.
Justice Preston is an Official Member of the Judicial Commission of NSW, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW, Honorary Fellow of the Environment Institute of the Australia and New Zealand and also a member of various international environmental law committees and advisory boards. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney and at Western Sydney University.