During the European Commission’s Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) Forum in Aalborg, Denmark held in November, five member states signed an agreement essentially clinching the technology’s role in the energy transition and the European Union’s decarbonization strategy. The Aalborg Declaration, signed by Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, and Germany, will enable the scaling up and wider usage of CCS throughout Europe, however questions remain about which industries it will be applied upon. But lead blogger Michael Buchsbaum, recipient of a Journalism Fund EU grant to report on Europe’s CCS buildout, reminds that most CCS operations worldwide use the carbon they capture to produce more oil. Read More
With war raging in Ukraine, Europe simultaneously scrambled to cut ties with Russia, its biggest fossil gas supplier, while also dealing with the lowest levels of hydro and nuclear generation in at least two decades. Though many feared a swing back to coal, a new analysis by the climate think tank, Ember reveals that wind and solar energy largely filled the gap, generating a record fifth of all the EU electricity and overtaking fossil gas for the first time in the process. Additionally, as shown in their newly published European Electricity Review, increased renewable deployment saved consumers billions in higher bills while staving off a larger return to climate-damaging coal. Proving itself to be a potent solution to the triple crisis of energy availability, affordability and sustainability, Ember sees Europe’s response as accelerating the energy transition going forward. Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum, reviews the new data.
Defying the grimmest projections, Europe made it through the temperate winter of 2023 with remarkably little collateral damage – and even a few big wins. The energy crisis may have displaced Europe’s climate aspirations by a fraction, but thanks to a record rollout of renewables and conservation measures, the continent’s emissions footprint inched downward and positioned Europe to remain within reach of its goal to slash emissions by 55 percent in seven years’ time. And it’s on track to comfortably outpace its pledge to generate 45% of its total energy from clean sources by 2030.
Global record investments in the energy sector continue to make headlines. After a halt in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sector investments increased in 2021 followed by projections of a similar trajectory by mid-2022. The momentum is associated with the renewables sector which accounts for the majority of these investments. Countries that have committed to achieve net-zero emissions and meet Paris targets will have to maintain this trend – or, potentially, a higher one – if they intend to fulfill those commitments. But net-zero also implies a gradual phase-out of traditional fossil fuel technologies and assets. This is where the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) could hamper the transition towards climate neutrality essential ways. Legal and energy specialist Lekë Batalli has the details.
There is a fairly broad consensus in the climate movement that hydrogen has to play an important role within the international energy transition (especially for the decarbonisation of energy-/feedstock-intensive industry sectors). And while there’s an understanding that only hydrogen produced 100% from renewables will match the requirements of being “clean” and therefore “climate-friendly”, few speak of possible shadow sides of this green dream (especially with regard to the Global North-South dependency resulting from green hydrogen production). In a two parts blog series, Andy Gheorghiu touches upon some of the aspects that promoters of green hydrogen should not forget.
The US’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) counts on massive direct subsidies to its private sector to stimulate a green transformation of the economy. The EU has opted largely for carbon pricing and other taxes to make the same transition. The two approaches are in no way mutually exclusive – and both have benefits. Paul Hockenos looks at the European answer to the IRA in the second installment of the two part series. Read part one here.
The US’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a moonshot moment in global climate protection, underscoring that the public sector will spend hundreds of billions in subsidies to drive decarbonization and a green economic transition. The EU’s bet on carbon pricing doesn’t rule out state aid, too. It now has to match the US plan. Paul Hockenos explains the details in the first installment of a two part series.
Since Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, European Union member states have been feverishly reworking their energy policies to reduce their reliance on Russian gas, coal, and oil. To help accelerate the shift, energy developers are rapidly increasing investments in solar and wind power. This summer, solar, helping the EU tackle not only its energy problem but also soaring inflation. According to a new report by climate think tank Ember, about a quarter of the EU’s electricity now comes from just wind and solar. Combined, Lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews how clean domestic energy is saving EU ratepayers money while helping slow global climate change.
In 2022, Germany set ambitious goals renewable energy, raising its share of gross electricity consumption up to 80 percent by 2030. In this context, the German government has adopted a policy to promote energy systems on agricultural land and focusing, in particular, on solar energy production. Many questions remain but agrovoltaic systems could serve as a useful tool to boost both the national and European energy transition. Leona Schmitt scans the detail.