When conventional forms of activism don’t reach the ears of a democratically elected government, the courts can provide a platform to hold the state accountable. A High Court ruling against the South African government’s efforts to buy in nuclear power is a case in point, writes Leonie Joubert.
The price of solar and wind energy has dropped so dramatically in South Africa (SA), it is now almost half the cost of coal electricity. So why is government’s new energy plan biased towards expensive nuclear plants, and leaving renewable sources as an afterthought? asks Leonie Joubert. If RE industrialisation doesn’t take off in SA, it will be slow across the rest of the subcontinent.
Coal supporters are pushing a bill that would bar utilities from using the state’s abundant wind power to provide electricity within the state. While many U.S. states have mandates and incentives to get more of their electricity from renewable energy, Republican legislators in Wyoming are proposing to cut the state off from its most abundant, clean resource—wind—and ensuring its continued dependence on coal. Zahra Hirji of InsideClimate News has the details.
South Africa is half way into a program that will see 96 privately owned and run utility-scale renewable energy plants built across the country. The project has been hailed for the speed of its rollout, its transparency, and for bringing the cost of solar and wind power down to well below that of new-build coal or nuclear. Already, the first plants are feeding at least a third of the project’s intended energy contribution into the grid. So why has the planned construction on the last few plants ground unexpectedly to a halt? Leonie Joubert asks.
It is finally done. After months of dithering, the nuclear industry’s CEOs and government officials of the UK, France and China solemnly signed off on the nuclear plant project at Hinkley Point C at the end of September. Some maintain that these might be the first signs of a new era for nuclear power after the Fukushima catastrophe, but Hinkley can barely hide the fact that the French nuclear “champion” EDF is at the brink of collapse and urgently needs a strategic turnaround. Andreas Rüdinger explains.
What would Brexit mean for the proposed nuclear reactor at Hinkley and England? No one really knew—until the new government in Downing Street announced the refurbishment of its nuclear submarines. Shortly thereafter, London confirmed that it remains committed to Hinkley—before postponing a final decision once again. Craig Morris explains.
The era of global coal expansion is coming to an end. Since 2010, the number of canceled coal projects across the world outstrips those that are completed at a rate of two to one. Still, too much power continues to be made from coal if mankind wants to achieve the 2 °C global temperature limit, argues Sophie Yeo.
The EU’s 2030 climate package contains free emissions trading allowances for Central and Eastern Europe’s carbon-intensive industries. Thereby, Brussels not only conceded to the environmental damage and long overdue changes to the market, but also to the possibility of corruption. Jan Ondrich explains.
The European Commission is redesigning its renewable energy policy – at the expense of small co-ops, citizens and consumers. Alan Simpson compares the situation to football – and hopes that we can still turn around the game.