Germany’s decision to turn a coal mine into a pumped-hydro-storage station may solve two of the most intractable challenges created by its shift to clean power. On a local level, it provides new economic activity in a region where generations of workers have relied on fossil fuel for their livelihoods. On a regional level, it catalyzes the expansion of renewable energy by helping to maintain electric capacity even when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.
Chinese and Germans are among dozens of investors taking Ukraine up on its offer to turn the grounds of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters into a massive solar park.
Thirteen international investors are among the 39 groups seeking Ukraine permission to install about 2 gigawatts of solar panels inside the radioactive exclusion zone surrounding the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant, according to Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Ostap Semerak. Two gigawatts is almost the capacity of two modern nuclear reactors, although atomic power unlike solar works day and night.
The European Union’s attempt to cap greenhouse-gas emissions over the next 16 years is threatened again as rising pollution from the bloc’s biggest economies shows even developed nations want to burn cheap coal.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, boosted consumption of the fuel by 13 percent in the past four years, while use in Britain, No. 3 in the region economically, rose 22 percent, statistics from oil company BP Plc show. While Germany pledged to cut heat-trapping gases 55 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels, it’s managed 25 percent so far and is moving in the wrong direction, according to the European Environment Agency.
The need for cheap energy is still a higher priority than the environment.
Clean-energy sources such as solar and wind met a record 27 percent of demand in Germany in the first quarter
Germany, Europe’s biggest clean-energy market, seeks to increase the share of renewables to at least 80 percent by 2050 to replace atomic reactors shuttered by 2022.
Germany’s renewable energy performance is impressive, but its target is even more impressive.