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Merkel’s Smoke and Mirrors Coal Exit Plan

A year after Germany’s 28-member “Coal Commission” presented a fragile compromise brown coal phase-out, in mid-January Merkel’s Grand Coalition government formally released their own plan. Breaking with the Commission’s recommendations by slowing down the pace of the phase-out, immediately greenlighting the new Datteln 4 hard coal plant and showering RWE and other coal operators with billions of Euros, it also calls for more gas plants and additional wind turbine construction limitations. Neither ensuring Germany can adhere to the Paris Agreement nor its own clean energy targets, environmental groups are outraged as investors celebrate. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes us into the dirty deal.


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Wind energy is starting to spill off the shore of Trump’s America

Although Trump keeps pushing lumps of coal and tankers full of freedom gas down the world’s collective throats, his industry-friendly administration hasn’t prevented America’s coal industry from dying or its fracking companies from losing piles of money. Nor has he stopped wind from gaining even more traction. After setting growth records last year, another breakthrough is forecast for 2020 as investors pour resources into new waters: offshore wind energy. But fearing its tremendous potential energy capacity, Trump’s minions are ramping up efforts to hold it back. As election fever grips the nation, L. Michael Buchsbaum looks at the state of offshore wind in Part 3 of his series on America’s energy transition.

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NPP Belene: Bulgaria’s ticking time-bomb in the energy transition

In the coming months EU member states have to agree on major legislative proposals as part of the European Green Deal and how to support them through the EU’s budget for 2021 – 2027. At its core is the recently drafted European Climate Law, preparing the path for reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. But while the Council and the European Parliament deliberate on the specifics of the pioneering climate law, some countries in Central and Eastern Europe prepare for a nuclear renaissance as part of their climate mitigation strategies.

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RWE: Embracing renewables worldwide, while clinging to coal in Germany

After swallowing up many assets of former rival E.ON and daughter company Innogy in a reconfiguration of both the European and global energy sectors, the new RWE has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2040. Long Europe’s worst polluter and a steadfast opponent of the clean energy transition, it’s working hard to rebrand itself as a green innovator. However, as it plans to annually invest 1.5 billion euros in new wind, solar photovoltaic and storage, RWE is mainly focusing outside of its German backyard where it continues to generate the filthiest energy in the world, cynically profiting off the rapidly slowing Energiewende. Michael Buchsbaum explains the new RWE.

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Bleak prospects for an energy giant

Venezuela has been facing political deadlock since its controversial President Maduro first came to power in 2013 following the death of his predecessor Chávez. International media reports have highlighted the crisis by pointing to the country’s hyperinflation, government pressure and shortages of food and medicine. These have indeed had a devastating effect on the country’s population, and since 2015, an estimated 4 million people have fled the country. Rebecca Bertram reports

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The atomic boomerang

The Polish government is looking ever more desperately for a way out of the energy impasse. Hence their return to the idea of building a nuclear power plant. Michał Olszewski gives us some insights.

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ICONic failure to recognise nuclear security faults

In the midst of last month, the United Nations nuclear promotional and watchdog body, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) hosted an International Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS 2020). ICONS Vienna followed earlier high-level IAEA nuclear security meetings held in 2013 and 2016. You could be forgiven for having missed it, as media attention was minimal, notwithstanding the crucial importance to worldwide security of the matters discussed and decided upon. Dr David Lowry explains.

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Bernie vs the billionaires: Is there another choice for the climate?

As the race to decide this year’s Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate barrels towards the heart of the nation’s long and confusing primary season, it’s becoming a contest between progressive Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the left; former New York Mayor, recent Republican, and billionaire businessman, Mike Bloomberg on the right; and the two middle-of-the-road party favorites former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Senator Klobuchar fighting for attention in the narrowing center. But as environmental voters really start feeling Sanders, the party establishment is pushing back. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes us there.

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