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.
While ostensibly trying to craft policy that both transforms Germany’s energy sector to 65% renewables by 2035 and protects the security of Germany’s 20,000 coal workers, the Grand Coalition Government’s halting energy policies have just cost the jobs of over 30,000 workers through the wind sector. Facing the worst domestic slowdown in 20 years, manufacturers spent much of 2019 hemorrhaging jobs, going bankrupt or heading into reconstruction. As 2020 begins, L. Michael Buchsbaum brings us up to date.
With only 500 megawatts of new onshore wind energy coming on-line through September, Germany’s pioneering onshore sector is suffering through its worst year since the beginning of the Energiewende. But instead of helping, the new Climate Package actually sharply reduces onshore wind targets, endangering the whole industry. L.Michael Buchsbaum reports
How can we save the planet from dangerous climate change without severing social coherence? Both large-scale, centralized installations and small-scale community-owned projects offer convincing benefits: Large–scale projects reduce the cost of electricity generation while small-scale projects directly benefit the local community. Rebecca Bertram takes a look at wind farms in Mexico.
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
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.
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.
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.