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.
All posts tagged: renewable energies
Clean energy: The untapped solution to Zimbabwe’s power crisis
Zimbabwe citizens currently experience power cuts of up to 18 hours on a daily basis despite the country’s largely untapped renewable energy potential that for years could be a panacea to the enduring power crises. According to its national clean power plan, the country would have enough green energy to satisfy local demand through sources including solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal and wind. However, a lack of investment and political will has prevented most of the Southern African country’s renewable projects from taking off. Kennedy Nyavaya has the story.
Saudi Arabia’s new energy diplomacy
There has been no shortage of news about Mohamad Bin Salman, more commonly known as MBS, the 35-year crown prince of Saudi Arabia. A controversial figure, he has been hailed as a reformer, but also criticized for corruption and human rights abuses. He came to power at a time when Saudi Arabia’s geopolitical prowess as an energy giant may be threatened by the energy transition. This year, Saudi Arabia has embarked on a massive diplomatic effort to set itself up for success in a world inching towards clean energy, but still grappling with energy security, independence and resilience issues brought on by recent conflicts like the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. Among many of the many topics on MBS’s desk are: how will Saudi Arabia fare in a post-oil world? MBS’s diplomatic moves of the past few months may signal the future direction of MBS’s energy diplomacy. Joelle Thomas reports.
Pyrrhic coal exit: Germany’s bad bargain with energy colossus RWE
Heralded as a “courageous step for climate protection,” Germany’s government has in 2022 reached a compromise with RWE, Europe’s most polluting energy firm, to stop mining and burning its filthy brown coal by 2030 – a full eight years ahead of previous plans. But the deal, negotiated by several Green-Party led ministries, also authorizes RWE to keep several units at one of the world’s most toxic power plants to stay longer on the grid, at least through 2025, instead of closing at year’s end. And despite cheers that the new agreement will keep 280 million tonnes of carbon in the ground, scientists fear the heaps of lignite now set to be burned will prevent Germany from meeting emissions limits set under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews the controversial decision.
RWE transformed: Germany’s biggest energy producer, and one of the world’s dirtiest, leaps into renewables
Founded in 1898 in the industrial city of Essen, RWE has grown into one of the largest electricity producer in Germany and increasingly in the world. While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis has upset plans to immediately reduce RWE’s lignite burn, in mid-October the company finally embraced a total coal phase-out by 2030. The about face comes days after RWE announced a blockbuster deal backed by Qatari’s massive sovereign wealth fund to takeover one of the United States’ biggest renewable energy producers. By the end of October 2022, as lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum, relates, despite RWE running three of the filthiest generating stations in Europe and still being dependent on massive volumes of fossil fuels, the company has become a global clean energy powerhouse.
Greening Speed: IEA says Russia’s war in Ukraine accelerating global shift to clean energy
In the wake of Russia’s February invasion and skyrocketing prices, to ensure energy security and affordability, nations worldwide are installing record levels of solar and wind capacity. Now, for the first time ever, in their annual World Energy Outlook the International Energy Agency (IEA) is predicting fossil fuel demand will peak near-term as non-emitting sources begin producing the majority of global power by 2030. Moreover, following sustained market turbulence on top of its proven climate impacts, the IEA no longer backs “natural” fossil gas a reliable transition fuel. Also, building upon Egypt’s COP27, several wealthy nations and investment agencies are banding together to assist top-ten emissions producer, Indonesia, as well as several other developing countries to accelerate their shifts from coal to clean. Lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum helps us navigate through the rapid changes.
Local Energy Scotland: Generating Energy for the Community
Edinburgh, Scotland. On the rocky western coast of the remote Scottish island of North Uist, a link in the Outer Hebrides archipelago, loom two 250-foot-tall (76 meter) onshore wind turbines with a generation capacity of 1.8 MW that ceaselessly churn in the North Atlantic Ocean breeze. Paul Hockenos reports.
Will winter smell of coal?
This chart is easy to remember. On 24 June 2022 the energy think tank Instrat published data on energy production with a special focus on its sources. Combined, photovoltaics and wind energy yielded more power (26.3 %) than the total electricity production from lignite (24.2 %). This means that a revolution took place in a country where successive governments blocked the development of renewable energy sources. For a long time, RES was an alien idea for Polish elites, especially for those on the right. RES was suspicious, contrary to the coal-oriented national interest. Poland was supposed to be a country fuelled by Polish coal. There is a very long list of politicians who have talked a greater or lesser degree of nonsense, or sometimes simply lied, about the subject.
The Caribbean’s energy conundrum
Small island states tend to face a double challenge when it comes to energy: Securing sufficient energy supplies and dealing with the immediate impacts of climate change. The Caribbean – comprised of 31 individual island states – is facing the brunt of energy and climate insecurity. As the region suffers a Covid-induced economic slump in its all-important tourism industry, it is also witnessing increasing extreme weather events, rising sea levels and extremely high electricity and energy prices. The latter three phenomena have been around for years, so why has the Caribbean not adapted a more sustainable energy policy? Rebecca Bertram has the Details.
Recount: New tool shows how much clean energy EU could build instead of buying more Russian blood oil
Despite uniting in opposition to the Russian government’s brutal February invasion of Ukraine, in the days since, EU nations have still spent some 60 billion euros in imported Russian coal, oil, and fossil gas according to estimates by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA). While governments scramble to find alternative sources of fossil fuels – sending prices and profits soaring, they continue pouring ever more money into the Kremlin’s war machine. As lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews, the surest way to reduce Russia’s military might is to ramp up investments in renewables. A newly released tool by the NGO Europe Beyond Coal dramatically illustrates the bloody tradeoff European leaders keep sadly making.