Just before summer break, Germany’s parliament finally committed to phasing out coal. But the conservative government’s plan doesn’t really call for meaningful shutdowns until 2023 as coal capacity slowly rolls offline through 2038. Instead, the law greenlights a large new coal plant while awarding billions of Euros in direct payments to the aggrieved coal operators and affected regional governments, directly ignoring key recommendations of the once celebrated Coal Commission. Though Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition and industry heaped praise upon it, environmentalists and opposition parties condemned the exit plan as a golden parachute for an already dying industry that won’t ensure the nation meets its Paris Climate Agreement commitments. Michael Buchsbaum has the details.
After swallowing up many assets of former rival E.ON and daughter company Innogy in a reconfiguration of both the European and global energy sectors, the new RWE has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2040. Long Europe’s worst polluter and a steadfast opponent of the clean energy transition, it’s working hard to rebrand itself as a green innovator. However, as it plans to annually invest 1.5 billion euros in new wind, solar photovoltaic and storage, RWE is mainly focusing outside of its German backyard where it continues to generate the filthiest energy in the world, cynically profiting off the rapidly slowing Energiewende. Michael Buchsbaum explains the new RWE.
While most post-mining plans, especially for surface mines, calls for pits to be redeveloped into lakes or farm land, an increasing body of research and evidence shows that these ripped-up landscapes can be successfully transformed into clean energy gold mines—whose solar PV resource potential, unlike coal’s, is infinite. L. Michael Buchsbaum reports
The complex merger deal will transform Europe’s worst polluter, RWE, into one of its largest renewable energy generators allowing it unprecedented behind-the-meter influence as partner E.ON dominates German grid distribution and consumer access. This poses a threat for competition and could upend Europe’s energy transition.
The accelerating downward pressure on onshore wind energy expansion in Germany is paralyzing the industry. Community-owned renewable producers have been hit hardest, and elbowed out of the few markets that remain. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes an in-depth look.
With Germany’s coal plants scheduled to close by 2038, operators now face some major decisions about how to restructure energy systems. One idea is to convert polluting power stations into batteries. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look.
Awash in sunshine and gentle breezes, over the spring Easter holiday, renewable energy production throughout Germany began to climb, hitting a record on Easter Monday as roughly 77% of electricity was generated by renewables. Is this a further sign that coal is on its way out? L. Michael Buchsbaum presents the facts.
For most people, the transition away from coal and fossil fuels towards clean energy production is a remote idea. But for citizens living in a handful of towns located within Germany’s remaining brown coal mining districts, the Energiewende, or its increasingly slow progress, is anything but remote, L. Michael Buchsbaum explains.
RWE is digging the biggest hole in Europe for dirty lignite – and they don’t have a working plan to deal with the consequences, says L. Michael Buchsbaum.