Archive for 'Europe'

May 31

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said a decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 can make her country a trailblazer in renewable energy.

Mrs Merkel set up a panel to review nuclear power following the crisis at Fukushima in Japan. The crisis, triggered by an earthquake and tsunami in March, led to mass anti-nuclear protests across Germany. The anti-nuclear drive boosted Germany’s Green party, which took control of the Christian Democrat stronghold of Baden-Wuerttemberg, in late March.

Before March’s moratorium on the older power plants, Germany relied on nuclear power for 23% of its energy.

Mrs Merkel said that in its “fundamental” rethink of policy, Germany could set an example for other countries.

“We believe we as a country can be a trailblazer for a new age of renewable energy sources,” the German chancellor was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

“We can be the first major industrialised country that achieves the transition to renewable energy with all the opportunities – for exports, development, technology, jobs – it carries with it.”

See the full BBC article

In comparison, the UK Government completed a similar review into the safety of nuclear power generation following the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. They decided to press ahead with plans to replace older nuclear plants in the UK.

DECC states on their website  “that new nuclear power has a key role to play in the UK’s low-carbon future”. They go on to say” The best way to achieve the energy security and affordability our country needs is through a diverse mix of technologies. No one technology can deliver all”.

Germany’s announcement questions this rationale as their intention is to “plug the energy gap” with renewables and improved energy efficiency, rather than nuclear. Germany currently depends on nuclear for 23% of it’s electricity, where nuclear makes up only 18% of the UK’s energy mix.

The question on most people’s lips will likely be “If Germany can do it why can’t the UK?”

May 06

UN-commissioned report predicts 77 per cent of energy could come from renewable sources, but only if the right policies are adopted.

The full scale of the growth potential enjoyed by the global renewable energy industry has been underlined today with the release of a major new UN-commissioned report, which predicts that renewable sources could provide up to 77 per cent of the world’s energy by 2050.

The final version of the long-awaited Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (PDF) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released earlier today at an event in Abu Dhabi.

“With consistent climate and energy policy support, renewable energy sources can contribute substantially to human well-being by sustainably supplying energy and stabilising the climate,” said professor Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of Working Group III, at the report launch. “However, the substantial increase of renewables is technically and politically very challenging.”

Shares of energy sources in total global primary energy supply in 2008

The report concludes that concerted policy efforts could result in the rapid rollout of renewable energy technologies, although the proportion of renewable energy will increase even without enabling policies.

It also predicts that the emergence of renewables as the dominant energy source could lead to cumulative greenhouse gas savings equivalent to 220 to 560 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide between 2010 and 2050.

The cuts delivered through this could play a major role in ensuring that concentrations of greenhouse gases remain below 450 parts per million, and that this could be sufficient to limit average global temperature rises to below two degrees centigrade.

Read the full Business Green article

Jan 04

The increase in the amount of energy generated from renewable sources in the UK over the next decade will surpass that of every other EU Member State, according to Chris Huhne. The energy and climate change secretary conceded the UK’s poor standing in EU’s renewable energy rankings, and said the UK has “a massive catch up” to do.

According to the latest official figures, in 2008 the UK ranked third from bottom on renewable energy in the EU ahead of only Luxembourg and Malta.

“We are exceeded in our paucity of delivery only by Malta and Luxembourg. This is the legacy we have inherited. The essential legacy is pretty damn poor. We have got massive catch up. We will be the fastest improving country on renewables in the EU between now and 2020. I’m absolutely determined about that and it will happen.”

The UK has been sluggish in getting its renewable industry off the ground, but investment has started to pick up dramatically in the last few years, particularly in offshore wind farms.

A recent report carried out by Bloomberg Energy Finance for Pew Charitable Trusts forecast that, based on current policies, $114bn (£73bn) would be invested in renewable energy in Britain between 2010 and 2020, the fourth highest amount in the world. Germany will spend more, but its rate of investment will fall, according to the report. Huhne’s comments will reassure environmentalists that David Cameron’s post-election pledge to be the “greenest government ever” remains a priority.

Source: This article first appeared at the Guardian. See the full article in BusinessGreen