Over the summer, the US Senate passed a much smaller than promised infrastructure package. Despite most climate protection and clean energy aspects being stripped out, one of the big winners in the $1 trillion infrastructure plan is hydrogen (H2). In a provision originally introduced as a separate bill by fossil-rich West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, some $8 billion will go to fund dozens of “clean hydrogen” projects including the creation of four new regional integrated H2 hubs. Hailed by President Joe Biden as a key tool to tackling the growing climate crisis, almost all energy funding in the bill will go to advancing “grey” H2 production from fossil gas as well as “pink” H2 generated by increasingly marginalized nuclear plants – throwing a lifeline to both sectors while ensuring little overall emissions reduction. In the next part of a longer series, lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews America’s murky steps into the increasingly over-hyped H2 solution.
The UK government finally launched its long-awaited hydrogen strategy in mid-August 2021. However, their new “twin-track” hydrogen (H2) plan will only fund small volumes of green H2 produced from wind and other renewables with the bulk coming from “blue” H2 generated from fossil gas and dependent on unproven carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies to reduce emissions. Released days after new studies showing that relying on blue H2 could be worse than burning coal, the plan was met with skepticism from the climate science community. In the next installment in a series on hydrogen’s hype, lead blogger and Energy Transition podcaster Michael Buchsbaum breaks down some of the details.
When the UK finalized a trade and security agreement with the European Commission on 24 December last year, it left with a set of arrangements governing future energy cooperation.
Here, Dr David Lowry looks at the background and reveals one extraordinary condition that could terminate the nuclear component of the deal.
Lauded internationally for reducing its coal dependency and cleaning up its economy, the United Kingdom’s energy transition has a dirty little secret: biomass. Misclassified as renewable and carbon free, tallying the biodiversity and environmental impacts of burning biomass depends on nuance: how tight the regulations are, how fast a forest can grow back, and how well you can tweak your numbers. Now the world leader in burning trees to make electricity, scientific evidence is piling up questioning biomass’ claims to climate neutrality. A new study by energy thinktank Ember, The Burning Question, alongside other ongoing citizen climate campaigns, demands London curtails future subsidies while tightening biomass’ dubious carbon loophole. L. Michael Buchsbaum reports.
Covid-19 spread shows up vulnerability at heart of nuclear programmes, with resilience of UK critical national infrastructures undermined. The coronavirus’ effects act as threat multiplier, as David Lowry explains.
The modern world depends on the smooth provision of vital services such as energy, transportation, telecommunications, food, water and healthcare. But the systems underpinning these sectors are increasingly complex and interdependent, interacting at a global scale – which makes them susceptible to potentially catastrophic failures when they come under stress. David Flynn and Valentin Robu report
Brexite is a major threat to Europe’s climate targets. The energy supply would also change – to the detriment of the British population. Nina Locher asks whether energy poverty and economic injustice could be prevented by stable British-European cooperation.
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.