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Understanding Hinkley Point

21 Sep 2016   by   Comments (9)

The decision to go ahead with Hinkley shows that any technology with a long timeframe is a juggernaut in an energy world of foreshortening planning horizons. But other questions remain open: can an EPR be built at all? Why is new nuclear cheaper outside the UK? And isn’t Hinkley at least a good low-carbon complement to wind and solar? Craig Morris takes a look.

Offshore windfarms in the Irish sea

Wind farm off the UK coast; wind power prices continue to drop, but Hinkley’s price tag keeps rising (Photo by Andy Dingley, edited, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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The pellet debate gets weird

19 Sep 2016   by   Comments (2)

After several years of North Americans criticizing EU biomass policy for leading to imports of wood pellets to Europe, the European Union now complains in the other direction—that the US should stop flooding the EU with biomass. Craig Morris explains.

Clear-cut forests in Oregon

Clear-cut forests in Oregon; the EU and the US need to work together to make biomass harvest more sustainable (Photo by Calibas, edited, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Wind and solar get cheaper and better

14 Sep 2016   by   Comments (5)

Wind and solar power have reached a tipping point in the US, as their prices become competitive with conventional electricity sources. Ben Paulos looks at the leaps and bounds in solar and wind, and what this means for the US energy transition.

Windmills at sunset in the Tehachapi farm,

Windmills at sunset in the Tehachapi farm, California (Photo by Alexandre Buisse, edited, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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In Poland, an Ohioan finds a parallel world on climate policy

13 Sep 2016   by editor   Comments (0)

In both Poland and Ohio, citizens are fighting for clean air and clean energy. Despite an anti-renewable turn in state policy, locals are attempting to cut carbon emissions. Kathiann Kowalski compares Warsaw and Cuyahoga County’s efforts.

Panoramic view of the Castle Square in Warsaw

Warsaw has set ambitious sustainable energy goals for 2020 (Photo by Michael Bueker, edited, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Has nuclear power been abandoned in Latin America?

12 Sep 2016   by   Comments (1)

Nuclear power is not a prevalent source of energy in Latin America. Currently, there are just seven nuclear power reactors in operation, producing just 2.2% of total energy consumption in Latin America: three in Argentina, two in Brazil and two in Mexico. However, it seems that nuclear power around the Western hemisphere is driven by a desire to find alternatives to low fossil fuel prices and CO2 emissions altogether. Are we talking about a nuclear revival? Lilian Sol Cueva takes a look.

Embalse Nuclear Power Station

Embalse Nuclear Power Station in Argentina, one of three in the country (Photo by Mrcukilo, edited, CC BY-SA 3.0)

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“Sustainable energy for all” transforms not only how energy is generated, but also how it is perceived

07 Sep 2016   by editor   Comments (1)

The Paris Climate Agreement and the inclusion of energy in the Millennium Development Goals were two key moments in 2015, writes Marie-José Nadeau, Chair of the World Energy Council and member of the Advisory Board of the SE4all initiative of the United Nations, which presented a new five-year strategy in Brussels last week. According to Nadeau, this new strategy has the potential to impact the way energy is perceived across the world, in addition to bringing improvements in energy access. This will have important implications for the global energy sector.

Windmills on a sunny day, with mountains in the background

The energy debate is shifting, and the world is moving towards sustainable systems (Photo from Public Domain)

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The Ukrainian crisis can be solved—with an Energiewende

05 Sep 2016   by editor   Comments (0)

A Ukrainian Energiewende could go a long way to resolving the current geopolitical crisis around the country, writes Oleg Savitsky of the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine in a new report for the Succow Stiftung. According to Savitsky, it would reduce Ukraine’s dependence on Russian gas and uranium as well as on coal from the breakaway regions, while at the same time reducing pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the risk of a nuclear disaster. It would also help to combat corruption and usher in economic growth and a more equitable society. Savitsky calls on the EU and Germany to set up a “Marshall Plan” to bring about a Ukrainian energy transition, rather than trying to maintain Ukraine as a failed gas transit state.

Vuhlehirska power station, coal-fired plant in Svitlodarsk, Ukraine

Vuhlehirska power Station, a coal-fired plant in Svitlodarsk, Ukraine (Photo by Artemka, edited, Public Domain)

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South Africa’s changing energy landscape

31 Aug 2016   by   Comments (0)

South Africa shows how quick an energy transition can be. In four years, with coal and nuclear power stations on hold, South Africa’s renewable energy program has nearly 100 plants in development. Leonie Joubert takes an in-depth look.

Gouda wind farm, South Africa

Gouda wind farm, South Africa (Photo by Discott, edited, CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Storage without solar

29 Aug 2016   by   Comments (2)

Household battery storage units connected to solar roofs are about to take off in Germany, according to sector experts. But if storage + solar makes sense, so does storage on its own. Craig Morris explains.

solar panels on the roof of a brick house

Solar units and battery storage are becoming more affordable (Photo by Pubajak, edited, Public Domain)

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Germany already has more green power than it ever had nuclear

24 Aug 2016   by   Comments (8)

The Governor of New York State says Americans will be reading by candlelight unless nuclear is subsidized. The state’s Public Service Commission (NYPSC) implemented such subsidies at the beginning of August, claiming it “learned a lesson from Germany.” Craig Morris takes a look at the data.

Indian point nuclear power plant

The Indian point nuclear power plant will not benefit from the planned subsidies, as it is considered too dangerous (Photo by Tony, edited, CC BY-SA 2.0)

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