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
Uruguay lies between Argentina and Brazil on the Atlantic Ocean and is home to about 3.5 million people. But this small country has made it to the top 5 in wind and solar energy producers worldwide. Rebecca Bertram reports
The shooting-star solar provider Mobisol claimed that the private sector could do what US presidents, the UN, the EU, and hundreds of aid organizations had failed at: namely bringing electricity to all of Africa. But this year it filed for insolvency. The French energy giant Engie, however, has stepped in, and wants to make good on Mobisol’s dream. Paul Hockenos reports
Preliminary figures conclusively reveal that renewables produced over 40 percent of Germany’s electricity in 2019. Combined with offshore production, wind energy overtook both filthy lignite and hard coal, and has now become the nation’s largest energy source. But as fossil gas prices fall and the ruling government’s fragile coalition stumbles its way through the Energiewende it created, 2020 will likely prove a make or break year for the clean energy transition. Only the future will reveal if 2019 will actually be remembered as the year renewables really powered past coal in Germany. L. Michael Buchsbaum explains.
Partially inspired by Germany’s version, the Czech Coal Commission met for the first time earlier this summer. Though it’s creation was largely driven by the mass student protests that have fundamentally transformed the Czech debate on climate policy, only two of its nineteen members are from environmental organizations. With its final report due in less than a year, it’s still unclear if the commission will decide upon a coal phase out date or a surge in renewables instead of new nuclear power. To learn more, Klára Schovánková, head of the ecology program at Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Prague office, interviewed Coal Commission member, Jiří Koželouh, who also heads the energy program at Hnutí Duha, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic.
The leading lights of wunderkind firm Mobisol, a Berlin start-up, left the company to found their own research institute. They still believe that the private sector has a key role in bringing solar power to Africa and the developing world. Paul Hockenos reports
While most post-mining plans, especially for surface mines, calls for pits to be redeveloped into lakes or farm land, an increasing body of research and evidence shows that these ripped-up landscapes can be successfully transformed into clean energy gold mines—whose solar PV resource potential, unlike coal’s, is infinite. L. Michael Buchsbaum reports
The Green New Deal (GND) pact embraced by scores of US Democrats is chock- full of vibrant ideas and urgent policy considerations. It’s right that with the climate crisis accelerating faster than scientists predicted and our window to curb it narrowing, we have to think big – indeed something at least as sweeping in scope as the New Deal recovery program of the 1930s. Paul Hockenos reports
The construction of new coal-fired power plants in South Africa has hit a major roadblock, with three of the biggest private banks saying they will stop funding dirty energy infrastructure developments here. Leonie Joubert reports