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Plug-and-play power stations may be ‘steaming’ towards SA waters

South Africa is taking emergency steps to plug the holes in a leaky electricity grid that are causing another season of scheduled power outages. One of these involves hiring three plug-and-play ocean-based mobile power stations – so-called ‘powerships’. But local energy experts warn that these are risky, expensive, and that the money would be far better spent building utility scale solar and wind plants. 

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A Green Spring in Germany: a bellwether for the Autumn?

In March’s two state elections, no party lost more ground than Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU. Tarred by deepening scandal, a slow vaccination rollout and lockdown fatigue, its popularity is plummeting. Conversely, big gains in these early contests in the nation’s super-cycle election year — culminating with September’s federal parliament and chancellery vote — show that public opinion is turning decidedly Green. New polling shows that as approval for the CDU and their CSU sister party collapses, the Greens are pulling almost even with them — in some cases, even creeping slightly ahead. As spring comes to Germany, for the first time in both national and party history, a Green chancellorship seems possible. Energy Transition’s lead blogger, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the early stage of the race to succeed Merkel.

(Photo by Arne Bevaart, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
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The world’s biggest trade bloc is born – what does it mean for the energy transition?

The year 2020 brought us a devastating pandemic and an economic slowdown but also some decisive moments for the global energy transition. Last year ushered in a wave of groundbreaking pledges on carbon and climate neutrality. Meanwhile, clean energy investments have proven resilient to the global economic downturn, further shrinking prices for renewable power generation equipment and the ongoing electrification of many economies. Finally, a potential game changer for the global energy transition occurred last November: After nine years of protracted negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed by 15 Asian and Pacific countries. Early signs, however, suggest it will prove a mixed bag for efforts to reduce global CO2.

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Edging into the hydrogen age: Carbon Brief questions if it can really solve climate change

Long recognized as an alternative to fossil fuels and once again heralded as an invaluable tool for tackling climate change, hydrogen is a key component within many of the recently announced national net-zero energy plans being rolled out by individual nations as well as the European Union. Hydrogen will likely be given a center role in new President Joe Biden’s climate plan too. To help sort out hope from hype, climate think tank, Carbon Brief recently published a detailed and invaluable hydrogen explainer. With comments from one of the analysts quoted in the explainer, L. Michael Buchsbaum helps untangle hydrogen’s reality.

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India’s energy transition and power system: the good, the bad, the ugly

Autumn 2020 has seen a dramatic net-zero shift among the world’s industrial giants, with China and South Korea aiming for carbon-neutrality by 2060 and 2050, respectively, and Japan – for climate neutrality by 2050. East-Asian economies, along with the EU, are leading the global climate efforts in terms of long-term ambitions, but a closer look at energy transition progress and the climate policies reveals another potential global leader – India. Maria Pastukhova investigates.

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