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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As war rages in Ukraine and links between energy and economic growth become clearer while the global impetus for transitioning to renewable energy looses pace mostly in developing countries. But this outcome could be avoided in the future if promised rapid investments on renewable energy become real. Meanwhile, we are experiencing unusual climatic impacts, such as persistent droughts, heat waves and heavy rainfall, and these extreme weather events are increasing and getting worse each season. As Russia’s invasion continues to cause disruptions, including rise to energy prices and reduce the quantity of oil and gas in the global market, it becomes clear that a transition to renewable energy is the only real solution to such disruptions and economic growth. Crucially, the war poses strong challenges to decarbonising developing countries’ economies.
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.
Southeast Asia’s Energiewende is already underway, albeit it needs to be sped up and its ambitions increased. There is a regional understanding that the transition to renewables must occur but serious work to translate this vision into reality remains missing. Policy, however, is not attuned to this need to accelerate. Energy generation is still with the hands of energy elites. Laurence L. Delina explores the potential for a just and accelerated Energiewende in this world region as first part of our Southeast Asia Series. What could Southeast Asia as a regional grouping do to facilitate this grand vision?
We all know that climate change is a worsening problem, but which paths do we take to find solutions to this vexing challenge? In this episode, we evaluate several technological solutions while also updating how cities around the world are taking an aspirational policy approach.
Following advice from the World Bank, most of Romania’s coal mines started shuttering in 1997. But this pivotal sector’s collapse left hundreds of thousands unemployed with few resources to help them transition to new careers. Only now, as the nation’s last underground mines prepare to close and Bucharest plots their lignite phase-out, are so-called “Just Transition” retraining programs and other projects finally being implemented. Next in the on-going Romanian Power Move series, lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum, reviews the nation’s rocky steps towards a “just” coal transition.