During COP26 in Glasgow, Romania’s caretaker government announced a surprise new partnership with the United States to develop a fleet of so-far unlicensed Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) to help replace it’s aging coal-fired infrastructure. The announcement builds upon the €8 billion deal the two nations signed over the summer of 2021 to refurbish one reactor at Romania’s only nuclear plant, while constructing two more on site. Michael Buchsbaum reviews Bucharest’s nuclear ambitions in this installment of the ongoing Romanian Power Move series.
Anger, sorrow and fear were some of the feelings triggered on November 30 as online news platforms reported that an eight-year-old girl from Hwange had died from third degree burns sustained from a coal seam fire, three weeks earlier.
One of the issues hindering Zimbabwe’s urgent development trajectory is its insistent energy shortages. This has seen the government place power production at the top of priorities to achieve an “Empowered and Prosperous Upper Middle-Income Society” between 2021 and 2030. While it is unavoidable that the country will have to increase access to modern as well as sustainable energy to fulfill development plans. The current borrowing to expand and construct coal thermal power stations has sparked debate around the rationality of development using toxic means. In this story, Kennedy Nyavaya writes about how diverting investments to renewable projects will help Zimbabwe utilise its vast clean power potential and take a quick turn towards climate neutrality as well as create green jobs.
After years of resistance, this September Romania promised to exit coal by 2032 ahead of receiving a €29 billion chunk of NextGenerationEU redevelopment money, some 40% earmarked for green and sustainable projects. But then Bucharest’s coalition fell and a caretaker government has since announced plans for a fleet of new fossil gas and biomass plants to power the country past coal. And during COP26 they signed a partnership with the United States to construct Europe’s largest new nuclear fleet. In this series, based on field research funded by a Fellowship from the International Journalists’ Program, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum, trains a spotlight on Romania’s controversial energy transition.
Civil society organisations in South Africa are proposing a post-WW2-style economic recovery programme to steer energy transformation for the state utility that echoes Roosevelt’s New Deal in the USA. But the country has been thrown into an even deeper energy crisis, following an explosion at one of the country’s newly-minted power stations. Could this make the ‘Green New Eskom’ idea even more relevant? Leonie Joubert investigates.
As Kosovo’s new coalition gets down to business, the young state has the chance to wean itself off its long-standing coal dependency. But will the government, which came into power in March this year, seize the opportunity to turn a green agenda into reality for Kosovo? Granit Gashi has the story.
As the first of the country’s six coal regions to start planning its coal phase-out, Eastern Greater Poland is the undisputed leader in Poland’s just energy transition. For 80 years, the region’s industry has revolved around lignite, but Eastern Greater Poland has ambitions not only to change the status quo with regard to coal, but also to serve as an example for the rest of the nation. Grass-roots projects lie at the heart of their new approach to energy. Agata Skrzypczyk has the story.
What better way to set a country on a path to a just transition than to allow lower-income families to harvest the free solar energy falling on or around their homes, and sell it to the national grid? After years of regulatory deadlock on the private sale of electricity in South Africa, sudden tectonic policy changes mean community energy co-operatives might be able to join the energy supply sector.
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.
In September 2019, at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, the newly-elected Prime minister Mitsotakis announced that Greece would phase out the use of lignite in its energy system by 2028, 10 years faster than Germany. Consequently, the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) drafted by the previous SYRIZA-led government was revised to reflect this and other commitments before the plan was sent to Brussels end of 2019 [see previous blog post]. Daniel Argyropoulos has the story.