Preliminary figures conclusively reveal that renewables produced over 40 percent of Germany’s electricity in 2019. Combined with offshore production, wind energy overtook both filthy lignite and hard coal, and has now become the nation’s largest energy source. But as fossil gas prices fall and the ruling government’s fragile coalition stumbles its way through the Energiewende it created, 2020 will likely prove a make or break year for the clean energy transition. Only the future will reveal if 2019 will actually be remembered as the year renewables really powered past coal in Germany. L. Michael Buchsbaum explains.
The leading lights of wunderkind firm Mobisol, a Berlin start-up, left the company to found their own research institute. They still believe that the private sector has a key role in bringing solar power to Africa and the developing world. Paul Hockenos reports
Americans in some states are realizing the benefits of renewables. Better than in Europe: it saves low-income people money. But its overall numbers are still comparatively small. Paul Hockenos takes a look at the development
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
About five years ago, decentralized community energy, though etched in history books for having sparked Europe’s clean-energy revolution in the 1990s, was deemed outdated in the age of the ever-more dramatic climate crisis. Paul Hockenos explains the development.
Recent months have brought a series of signs of change on the horizon of Polish climate politics – some clearer than others. It is negligible how much such change is being forced by external circumstances and how much stems from genuine reflection. The climate crisis and its consequences are now so clear that the most hardened climate sceptics have been silenced. It is too soon to speak of an environmental breakthrough in Poland, but one can no longer definitively say that the right-wing remains completely indifferent to the ubiquitous signs of crisis. Michał Olszewski summarises the development.
Why isn’t it? Powerful interests in the energy sector see renewables in terms of hydro, hydro, and more hydro. It’s not what the country – or the region — needs, says Paul Hockenos.
A summary of the Polish power industry in 2018 gives no apparent reason for optimism. But appearances can be deceiving: there is a flicker of light on the horizon. The only question is whether it is not appearing too late, says Michał Olszewski.
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.