By the end of 2022, Romania had met only 33 of the 55 milestones established in its multi-billion euro National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP). Most problematically, major provisions around lignite-fired power plant closures remain blocked. Days before the first coal units were set to shutter, citing the ongoing war in Ukraine, lawmakers in Bucharest decided to delay closure until October 2023. While also moving forward with the construction of both new EU-funded fossil gas plants as well as U.S. subsidized nuclear reactors, NGOs and activists worry Bucharest is simply trying to cash in on the recovery monies while playing the European Union. Now regulators in Brussels have taken notice by delaying disbursement of billions in much needed green energy funding. Continuing the Romanian Power Move series, lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the unfolding situation.
By the time you read this, the village of Lützerath may already be gone – part of the price paid for getting RWE, Germany’s largest energy producer, to stop mining and burning brown coal by 2030. Yet short term, RWE is ramping generation at their lignite-burning plants, among the most polluting in Europe, to make up for sanctioned Russian gas and help Germany get through the next two winters. But climate scientists warn, burning all the coal underneath the activist-occupied town could risk breaking the emissions limits set under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Worse, as lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum relates, the steep terms of the deal are splintering the Greens, potentially setting party leadership against its most ardent climate activists.
Led by reformer Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s new leftist government, the first in its long history, aims to both reduce its dependence on fossil fuel exports and achieve 100% clean electricity by 2032 while creating peace and creating economic prosperity. But to ensure these aims can justly be reached, Petro’s administration will need assistance, particularly from Germany. Its fifth largest trading partner and biggest in the EU, new treaty obligations to protect indigenous rights and control supply chains may force Germany to re-evaluate its still extractivist behavior. In the final piece in the series, Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews several of the necessary changes required of the German companies still profiting off the mining and burning of Colombian blood coal.
Following changes to tax legislation, fossil gas is now flowing out of the Black Sea where an estimated 200 billion cubic meters of climate killing methane could be tapped. While drillers look further, homeowners and businesses are installing solar panels at record rates as “prosumers” look to cash in. Lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the nation’s energy transition in this edition of the Romanian Power Move.
In its attempt to drastically reduce its dependency on Russian oil and gas, Europe is turning to Africa. But the move is problematic, as producing fossil fuels on the continent presents its own challenges. Noah J. Gordon and Theodora Mattei have the details. This article was originally published in InternationalePolitikQuaterly.
One of Nigeria’s silent energy crises is the lack of access to clean cooking. In many parts of Nigeria, women and girls bear the cost of fetching firewood, a traditional cooking method. They are also responsible for inhaling most of the deadly smoke. Samuel Ajala takes a closer look.
Since the 2021 military coup, daily electricity blackouts across Myanmar have dented people’s livelihoods and wellbeing. Some rural villagers have taken an independent route to tackling energy insecurity: developing community hydropower systems. If designed properly, these decentralized energy solutions can be affordable, reliable, and even environmentally sustainable. Kyungmee Kim takes a closer look at the trend as fifth part of our Southeast Asia Series.
In the fourth part of our South East Asia Series, Julian Theseira is looking at the opportunity for public and civil society organizations to encourage their governments’ to change how energy is generated, distributed, and accessed. How can energy systems become more democratic, giving people and communities access to sufficient, affordable, reliable, and renewable energy?
In Honduras, with the election of the new president, hope for a transition towards a renewable-based and non-corrupt energy sector arises. The whole sector requires rebuilding and infrastructural expansion is urgently needed. Though the odds seem positive, open questions remain. Rebecca Bertram discusses perspectives and obstacles.