All posts tagged: Coal

Will winter smell of coal?

This chart is easy to remember. On 24 June 2022 the energy think tank Instrat published data on energy production with a special focus on its sources. Combined, photovoltaics and wind energy yielded more power (26.3 %) than the total electricity production from lignite (24.2 %). This means that a revolution took place in a country where successive governments blocked the development of renewable energy sources. For a long time, RES was an alien idea for Polish elites, especially for those on the right. RES was suspicious, contrary to the coal-oriented national interest. Poland was supposed to be a country fuelled by Polish coal. There is a very long list of politicians who have talked a greater or lesser degree of nonsense, or sometimes simply lied, about the subject.

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Poland and the energy costs of the Russian war in Ukraine

The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine is not only barbaric – it is also a harbinger of rapid economic changes around the world. Even if the war ends relatively soon (and that is unlikely), a return to the status quo ante is unthinkable. So too is a return to the heavily fossil-fuelled and import-dependent European energy model that existed before the war. Is it appropriate to ponder over raw materials as bombs fall on Kharkiv and Mariupol? Yes, if solely for the reason that the future shape of the energy market should constitute a response to this barbarism. The question is whether Poland is genuinely prepared for such a response. Michał Olszewski with a perspective from Warsaw.

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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: Artists, Civil Society and local governments strive for a Just Transition

With national offices in Bucharest, NGOs Bankwatch and Greenpeace have long been active in Romania’s coalfields. Today both NGO’s are working closely with local governments in Gorj County – the nation’s lignite center – to help guide its transition into a renewable energy powerhouse. In this edition of the Romanian Power Move, lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews how NGOs are assisting leaders on the ground to access Brussels-based support to fuel a green tech transformation within the nation’s most polluting region.

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Romanian Power Move: Retraining for a Just Transition from coal

Following advice from the World Bank, most of Romania’s coal mines started shuttering in 1997. But this pivotal sector’s collapse left hundreds of thousands unemployed with few resources to help them transition to new careers. Only now, as the nation’s last underground mines prepare to close and Bucharest plots their lignite phase-out, are so-called “Just Transition” retraining programs and other projects finally being implemented. Next in the on-going Romanian Power Move series, lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum, reviews the nation’s rocky steps towards a “just” coal transition.

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Romania part 2 | The Global Energy Transition Podcast – Episode 4

After committing to phase out coal by 2032, Romania has begun a sweeping energy transition. But it is off to a very rocky start. Though a key condition of their nearly €30 billion Recovery and Resilience Plan approved by the European Commission calls for the nation’s coal mines and coal burning power plants to shutter, what will replace them remains a cause of concern. During COP26 in Glasgow, Romania’s provisional government surprisingly inked a deal with the U.S. to construct a fleet of experimental nuclear units while partnering with a Norwegian company to convert an old coal plant to burn biomass instead – despite Romania already having a large problem with illegal timbering. But more than an economic issue, Romania’s energy transition requires a cultural shift as well as an influx of worker re-training programs. And now as energy costs rise, Bucharest is blaming several NGOs for higher prices.

In this episode, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum takes a deeper look in Part Two of his Romanian Power Move series. Listen for interviews with campaigners from Beyond Coal Europe, researchers from NGO 2Celsius, and Bankwatch Romania’s National Director, Ioana Ciută who recounts her experience testifying before Parliament. Miner’s Hymn by Jurjak from the Planeta Petrila Original Soundtrack used by permission. The full video can be found here.

You can also read more from host Michael Buchsbaum about Romania’s energy transition in the ongoing Romanian Power Move series on the Global Energy Transition blog here, visit his website here or follow Buchsbaum on Twitter: @LMicalBuchsbaum.

You can play the episode below, and it’s also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.


Report “Coal in Romania – A review of coal-based assets and how they affect the environment” by Bankwatch Romania

Europe Beyond Coal “Romania commits to exiting coal by 2032 at the latest

Energy Policy Group & Greenpeace România report “The sustainable transition of Gorj County

2Celsius – Romanian environmental NGO

Audio from the podcast was mixed and edited by audio expert Christian Kreymborg.


Romanian Power Move: Building Uncle Sam’s Nukes

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.

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Sustained appetite for coal hampers Zimbabwe’s renewable energy prospects

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.

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