We are all looking for some good news. Here’s some: coal is tanking globally, nowhere faster than in the EU including the UK. With over 8.3GW of generation capacity coming offline during the first half of the year, coal-fired energy has fallen by almost a third across Europe. Even better: at least another 6 GW of capacity is scheduled to shutter during the second half of 2020 as Spain and Portugal join Sweden and Austria in ending their coal ages. As part of a series on the global decline of coal in 2020, L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look at Europe, where coal is increasingly unwelcome.
Germany is often cited as Europe’s renewable energy wunderkind, and indeed many of its laurels are well deserved. But it is no means alone on the cutting edge of climate protection, and indeed of late the Teutons have fallen behind in places. Other European countries excel in specific areas, offering best practices for the rest of the continent and beyond. In the final analysis, though, the meta-champion is the EU, says Paul Hockenos.
Portugal produced more power from clean energy sources in March than it actually needed, marking the first time in the 21st century that renewables have topped 100% of its production. But a dearth of energy connections with the rest of Europe remains problematic, explains Sam Morgan.
If you think the idea of shifting to 100% clean energy is still farfetched, think again. There are already countries that have virtually abandoned all fossil fuels. These are not necessarily the popular cases you usually read about, but they have shown the world that it is indeed possible to run a country without having to rely on fossil fuels.
In April 2016, Portugal’s electricity generation came almost entirely from renewable energies (95,5%) and ran in early May on RES generation exclusively for 107 hours straight. A transition to 100% renewable energies is thus closer than ever in the country. Rita Antunes and Francisco Ferreira from ZERO – Association for the Sustainability of the Earth System explain.
We recently wrote about record wind power production in 2015, which was partly due to windy conditions. But a lot of new capacity was also added. Unfortunately, the rush reflects the storm before the calm; the onshore sector in particular fears the switch to auctions. Craig Morris explains.
And then there were three… E.ON, one of Germany’s Big Four utilities, is selling its conventional power plant fleet. Is this a special case, or is E.ON setting an example for the other utilities? Craig Morris investigates.
E.ON, one of Germany’s two biggest power providers, announced over the weekend that it plans to sell its conventional power plants and focus on renewables, the grid, and “customer solutions.” Craig Morris says the real message has been overlooked.
In a recent article about the German energy transition, a researcher in the US looks at the challenges Germany faces. But Craig Morris thinks the report says more about Americans than about Germany.