For the last two weeks of March, while Poland was experiencing the difficulties created by Covid-19, electricity demand dropped by as much as 8.5 percent. This drop has effectively increased the share of renewable energy sources within the national energy mix. How will the crisis provoked by the new virus affect Poland’s energy and climate policy? Will changes in the energy market make it possible to meet the EU’s 2020 renewable energy targets on the home straight? Agata Skrzypczyk takes a look behind the scenes.
Over the last two centuries, energy trade has become increasingly global. Where wood was found and used locally, coal was mined and transported nationally, and oil emerged as a global commodity. Natural gas is also moving from regional markets to the global shipping of LNG. The same holds for energy demand, which is growing and shifting Southward, away from traditional OECD markets, to China, India, South-East Asia and Africa, as the International Energy Agency (IEA) confirms in its findings. Renewable energy harbors a number of characteristics that could potentially end this trend of increasingly global energy trade. Just Voskuyl and Daniel Scholten take a critical look at the bigger picture.
After years of stagnation, the new government wants to speed up the energy transition in Greece. Can the vast potential of wind and solar energy finally be exploited following the slow-down of recent years? Daniel Argyropoulos fills us in on the details.
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 last 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