Sam Morgan The Jolt - 10/November/2023

The Jolt: All about the base

In Friday’s edition of The Jolt, Sam has a look at baseload power and provides a sneak peek of FORESIGHT’s latest deep dive, plus Germany tries to help its industrial sector to pay its giant energy bills


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Welcome to today’s episode of The Jolt by FORESIGHT Climate & Energy. In a world underpinned by climate and energy stories, it is sometimes hard to cut through the cacophony of noise and get to the news you need to hear.

This is where The Jolt comes in. Tune in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for bite-sized updates, expert analysis and a global view.

We kick off with a look at the major global climate and energy news stories.


What you need to know

Here are some of the main climate and energy stories making the news around the world:

  • Germany will support its industrial sector with €28 billion in tax subsidies between now and 2028. Electricity taxes will be dropped to the lowest level allowed by European law, although industry groups are still sceptical about whether it will be enough.
  • European Union negotiators have struck a deal on a new law aimed at restoring nature. Countries will have to restore 30% of habitats covered by the legislation by 2030 and 90% of them by 2050. More details here.
  • More than 60 countries support a global pledge to triple renewable energy capacity, reports news agency Reuters. The initiative will be launched at the COP28 summit in Dubai later this month. Talks with China and India about joining the pledge are also “at an advanced stage”.
  • Wopke Hoekstra, the EU’s top climate official, will meet his Chinese counterpart in Beijing next week for pre-COP talks.
  • The United States has launched “Project Phoenix”, which aims to help Central and Eastern European countries switch from coal power to small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) technology. More details from the US Department of Energy here.
  • Despite this, a flagship SMR project in the state of Utah has been scrapped, after utilities that had agreed to buy power from the scheme were scared off by rising costs and delays. Initially scheduled to be online in 2026, the reactors had already been pushed back to 2029.
  • The state of Michigan passed on the US’ most ambitious clean energy bills, which will obligate the power grid to be carbon-free by 2040. Sixty percent of electricity should come from renewables by 2034.
  • Indonesia has inaugurated Southeast Asia’s biggest floating solar power plant. Initially capable of providing 145 megawatts (MW) of green power, expansion could ramp that up to 1000 MW. Check out Wednesday’s Jolt for more on Indonesia’s energy transition.
  • And Australia has signed a landmark climate and security pact with Tuvalu, a Pacific island nation that is the world’s fourth smallest country. Tuvalu’s citizens will be given preferential access to visas to allow them to relocate when the effects of climate change worsen. Economic support will also be provided in return for not striking security partnerships with other countries.


Today’s big story

All about the base

Image MidJourney / Prompts FORESIGHT.

  • Baseload power is one of the main tenets of most national energy policies. Enough electricity needs to be available 24 hours a day in order to meet minimum energy demand.
  • But the ramp up of solar power is undermining the case for baseload, as cheap green electrons with no marginal costs force baseload providers like coal, gas and nuclear out of the power merit order.
  • This means that the so-called “duck curve”—a visual representation of how great quantities of solar power changes daily energy demand—will make the business case for new and even existing baseload power plants more complex.
  • FORESIGHT correspondent Jason Deign has written in-depth about this issue and you can read the full article on To help whet appetites for the piece and explain a little more the background to the issue, Jason joined today’s show.


“Nuclear’s already having a problem with its economics. Now, solar is coming along and pushing it out of the merit order”


  • Spain is one example of a country where solar is making a big impact on the energy system and where nuclear faces a rather bleak future as a result. Germany is phasing out nuclear so will not be so affected.
  • France, meanwhile, already has so much nuclear online that atomic power specialists insist the fleet will be able to keep up with solar and deal with its impact on the sector.


While you’re here, check out the latest edition of Watt Matters—a special live episode—and stay tuned for next week’s episode of the Policy Dispatch, delving into the complex case of Moldova.



We want The Jolt to be as listener-driven as possible! Get in touch with us about what you like, what you don’t like and what you’d like to see in future episodes. All feedback is appreciated so don’t be shy.

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