How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course

by | Aug 1, 2016 | Climate Change, Energy, Pollution | 0 comments

Is the global effort to combat climate change, painstakingly agreed to in Paris seven months ago, already going off the rails?

 

Germany, Europe’s champion for renewable energy, seems to be having second thoughts about its ambitious push to ramp up its use of renewable fuels for power generation.

 

Hoping to slow the burst of new renewable energy on its grid, the countryeliminated an open-ended subsidy for solar and wind power and put a ceiling on additional renewable capacity.

 

Germany may also drop a timetable to end coal-fired generation, which still accounts for over 40 percent of its electricity, according to a report leaked from the country’s environment ministry. Instead, the government will pay billions to keep coal generators in reserve, to provide emergency power at times when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.

 

Renewables have hit a snag beyond Germany, too. Renewable sources are producing temporary power gluts from Australia to California, driving out other energy sources that are still necessary to maintain a stable supply of power.

In Southern Australia, where wind supplies more than a quarter of the region’s power, the spiking prices of electricity when the wind wasn’t blowing full-bore pushed the state government to ask the power company Engie to switch back on a gas-fired plant that had been shut down.

 

But in what may be the most worrisome development in the combat against climate change, renewables are helping to push nuclear power, the main source of zero-carbon electricity in the United States, into bankruptcy.

Read full story: NY Times

 

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