Opinion

South Korean biomass lawsuit a warning to Europe

Solar players in South Korea have filed an unprecedented legal challenge against the government for its support of biomass generation. As the European Commission prepares to reopen its own Renewable Energy Directive, Joojin Kim, from Seoul-based NGO Solutions for Our Climate explains the background to the South Korean case

Most read this month

A clean-energy future is reliant on sustainable mining and cement

Insuring a renewable future

Figures do not lie: electricity speeds up on decarbonisation

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We face a fundamental change of the cost structure on the supply side and a need for a fundamental change.

Jochen Kreusel

- Market innovation manager in the power grids division at ABB Power

They [the European Commission] are looking at this stuff backwards. I still think they are convinced the short-term market model could work even though they are also starting to realise that you need something parallel, with long term price signals that give investors confidence to invest in infrastructure and allow them to see a decent market return.

Francesco Venturini

- Global head of renewables for Italian utility Enel

Despite tremendous cost decline of wind and solar technologies, electricity prices will probably remain too low to attract the level of investment needed.

Fatih Birol

- Executive director of the International Energy Agency

The greatest barrier to overcome is the integration of variable renewables into electricity systems. This will require developing power system flexibility and also a friendly deployment of variable renewables.

Fatih Birol

- Executive director of the International Energy Agency

Green buildings are only as clean as the energy used in manufacturing their insulation material

The most sought after building insulation products will not necessarily be the cheapest and most effective, but those manufactured with the lightest carbon footprint

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Developing economies have much to gain from welcoming offshore wind

Offshore wind’s complexities and high capital cost make it harder for the sector to gain a foothold in developing markets

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The EU cannot ‘go it alone’ on Border Carbon Adjustments

Border carbon adjustments (BCAs) are technically difficult to design and politically challenging to implement. If BCAs are going to succeed, the European Union (EU) will need to engage trade partners from the start, says E3G’s Johanna Lehne

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New finance model swaps coal for renewables

A finance mechanism that retires coal power stations and replaces them with new renewable energy capacity is gathering steam in the United States. But challenges remain in making this seemingly simple solution mainstream

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Increased goals will bring increased benefits

The European Commission’s plan to increase the emissions reduction target to 55% lacks ambition and would miss out on additional benefits that a higher goal would present, argues WWF’s Imke Lübbeke

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Europe’s relationship with hydrogen will need to change over time

Hydrogen brings a lot to the table for the EUs energy transition. But to be truly beneficial we need to design its contribution with a global perspective, argues Thomas Boermans, head of innovation trends and strategy at E.ON.

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Insuring a renewable future

As the clean energy industry forges ahead into new markets, sometimes with technologies yet to stand the test of time, conditions for obtaining insurance for renewable energy facilities have tightened significantly, particularly for the increasing number of projects built in areas susceptible to natural disasters

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Figures do not lie: electricity speeds up on decarbonisation

Europe’s electricity industry is decarbonising at an increasing pace, with the rise of renewables and drop in coal-based power generation. But progress on the ground will be bigger once the remaining barriers are removed, argues Eurelectric’s Kristian Ruby

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Technology

Fossil gas is losing its grip in America too

Natural gas has not yet reached its peak in the US, but the summit is in view

Charging an EV should be as easy as charging a smartphone

The big role of small companies in the energy transition

An EV future is in our hands

A clean-energy future is reliant on sustainable mining and cement

Missing details from South Korea green deal raises doubts over government intentions

Why do we favour renewables over energy efficiency?

Wind was resilient throughout the crisis, will be decisive in the recovery

Expensive oil means we are failing

The quest for carbon-neutral cities

Renewables as grid flexibility tool gives glimpse of the future

The pandemic has changed the course of energy transition

What our editors are reading

Wind’s recovery role

Reports

Trade body WindEurope touts the additional benefits the wind industry brings to local and national economies as Europe navigates its way out of the pandemic-induced financial crisis. In its latest report, WindEurope found that the industry generates €2.5bn of value added to the EU economy for each new gigawatt of onshore wind installed and €2.1bn for each new gigawatt of offshore wind. Wind farms also pay an average of €2.3/MWh in local taxes as well as providing jobs and additional community benefit to those living near projects.

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All-electric houses win on costs

Reports

A new analysis from the US-based Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) finds that the building of all-electric single family homes is cheaper than multi-fuel houses. RMI looked at new housing across seven major US cities. Across most locations, multi-fuel homes have higher upfront costs than all-electric buildings that use heat pumps for heating and cooling. As well as the economic impact, it will also benefit the climate. All-electric homes in Seattle could see a 93% saving on carbon emissions over the lifetime of the equipment. New York homes could see an 81% saving, while new buildings in four other cities could save over 50% of emissions.

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Solar PV the new king of electricity

Reports

Solar PV is now consistently cheaper than new coal- or gas-fired power plants in most countries, and now offers some of the “lowest cost electricity ever seen”, according to the IEA’s new World Energy Outlook 2020. “Solar becomes the new king of electricity,” it says. If today’s policies and goals remain the same, renewables will meet 80% of global electricity demand growth over the next decade. Emissions from the power sector could drop by more than 40% by 2030, with annual additions of solar PV almost tripling from today’s levels. However, the report shows that strong growth of renewables needs to be paired with robust investment in electricity grids.

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