Archives


Derailed: despite its obvious success, Germany to scrap €9 public transport ticket

This spring Germany’s three-party coalition government announced plans to introduce a discounted €9 nationwide public transportation travel pass for the summer months. Intended as a way to cushion the blows of rising inflation, high energy and living costs while reducing fossil fuels usage and emissions, at least 21 million tickets were sold between May, when the ticket became available, and July. Sales figures and passenger numbers surpassed industry expectations and data shows that highway traffic congestion nationwide is easing. But despite its obvious success, Berlin is poised to not extend the offer beyond August, prompting fears that rail travel costs will jump, highway traffic jams will lengthen as Germany squanders another opportunity to show real leadership. Lead blogger, podcaster and frequent rail passenger, Michael Buchsbaum, reviews the situation.

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Harnessing the power of the sun in Greece’s Valley of Tears

The global energy transition is full of ironies. On the same spring day that Greece inaugurated its largest solar plant, located adjacent to several lignite mines in the coalfields of Western Macedonia, the government announced a short-term increase in mining as it responds to feared fossil gas shortages following Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Then in late June, Greece passed a sweeping renewables law targeting 15GW of new clean energy capacity to be built by 2030, much of it in this coal dependent region. Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum, discusses the region’s planned transformation into one of the world’s largest centers of solar generation.

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Not enough Space? Combining Agriculture with Renewable Energies

In 2022, Germany set ambitious goals renewable energy, raising its share of gross electricity consumption up to 80 percent by 2030. In this context, the German government has adopted a policy to promote energy systems on agricultural land and focusing, in particular, on solar energy production. Many questions remain but agrovoltaic systems could serve as a useful tool to boost both the national and European energy transition. Leona Schmitt scans the detail.

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Europe must use its REPowerEU to REPowerAfrica

For German chancellor Olaf Scholz to fly to West Africa and on arrival ensures he tells his host that he “quite deliberately chose Senegal as the first stop” is strong indication that Germany, and the rest of Europe, looks to president Macky Sall among others in Africa to rescue Europe from its “burgeoning energy crisis”.  Mr. Scholz ‘first stop’ wasn’t arbitrary. It was strategic because Senegal is attached to one of several basins constituting the so-called MSGBC Basin now fuelling a “gas rush”. Europe’s turn to Africa for a helping hand, formalised in the European Commission’s REPowerEU plan, creates challenges for both regions. But Africa holds short and long-term solutions. In this second of two articles, Michael Davies-Venn assess challenges and opportunities the plan presents for Africa and Europe.

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RePowerEU must only be a short-term solution to avert the worse

A diplomatic solution is the only plausible solution to the on-going Russia’s war in Ukraine and it remains elusive. Meanwhile, the energy crisis which is a fallout of the war persists as fiercely as it compromises climate change solutions. From Berlin to Brussels, politicians are struggling with a related imminent crisis, which is how to reduce the growing millions of Europe’s “energy poor” the European Parliament has been told will increase in tandem with escalating energy prices. In this first of a two-part series, Michael Davies-Venn critically analyses the European Commissions’ solution for the energy crisis and offers short and long term policy solutions that are consistent with the EU’s climate goals and global leadership on climate change.

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Romania’s continuing power moves: coal exit codified as EU funds new energy projects

Though briefly this year, the Romanian government announced plans to phase out coal by 2030, with the war in Ukraine and the spiraling energy crisis, it now aims to place its coal-fired plants into reserve status with a total shut down fixed for 2032. Newly passed legislation makes this decision binding. With Brussels backing their transition plan, EU funds are flowing in to build new gas-fired and nuclear plants that will replace dirty coal. In the first of two blogs, Lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum updates readers on Romania’s evolving Energy Transition.

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Romanian Power Move: Gas is flowing from the Black Sea as the prosumer solar booms

Following changes to tax legislation, fossil gas is now flowing out of the Black Sea where an estimated 200 billion cubic meters of climate killing methane could be tapped. While drillers look further, homeowners and businesses are installing solar panels at record rates as “prosumers” look to cash in. Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the nation’s energy transition in this edition of the Romanian Power Move.

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It’s the Women, stupid!

When writing about the energy transition, one generally forgets that it’s not always about hard facts and debating the best policy solution that reaches a desired outcome, but that it’s the people who make the transition – the people who make the story. Rececca Bertram tells such a story of three indigenous women from remote areas in Costa Rica who push for an energy transition thereby increasing the quality of life in their entire respective communities.

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